Alcántara Bridge

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For the bridge in Toledo, see Puente de Alcántara, Toledo.
Alcántara Bridge
Bridge Alcantara.JPG
Coordinates 39°43′21″N 6°53′33″W / 39.7224°N 6.8924°W / 39.7224; -6.8924Coordinates: 39°43′21″N 6°53′33″W / 39.7224°N 6.8924°W / 39.7224; -6.8924
Crosses Tagus River
Locale Alcántara, Spain
Heritage status Listed as cultural heritage since 1921[1]
Design Roman arch bridge
Material Stone
Total length 181.7 m[2]
Width 8.6 m[2]
Height 45 m[3]
Longest span 28.8 m[4]
Number of spans 6
Load limit 52 t[5]
Designer Caius Julius Lacer
Construction begin 104 AD
Construction end 106 AD
Alcántara Bridge is located in Spain
Alcántara Bridge
Alcántara Bridge
Location in Spain

The Alcántara Bridge (also known as Trajan's Bridge at Alcantara) is a Roman stone arch bridge built over the Tagus River at Alcántara, Spain, between 104 and 106 AD by an order of the Roman emperor Trajan in 98.[6] It bears the inscription Pontem perpetui mansurum in saecula (I have built a bridge which will last forever) on the archway over the central pier.[6]


Photo of the Alcantara bridge (c. 1870), by Jean Laurent

The Alcántara Bridge has taken more damage from war than from the elements. The Moors destroyed the smallest arch on the left side[clarification needed] in 1214. This was rebuilt centuries later in 1543 with stone from the original quarries. The second arch on the right side[clarification needed] was destroyed by the Spanish to stop the Portuguese and was repaired in 1762 by Charles III, only to be blown up again in 1809 to stop the French. Temporary repairs were made in 1819 and were replaced in 1860 with mortared masonry.[6]


The bridge originally measured 190 m in length, which is today reduced to 181.7 m.[2] The clear spans of the six arches from the right to the left riverside are 13.6, 23.4, 28.8, 27.4, 21.9 and 13.8 m.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patrimonio histórico: Bienes culturales protegidos. Consulta de bienes inmuebles. Bien: "Puente de Alcántara", retrieved 13-01-2010 (Spanish)
  2. ^ a b c Galliazzo 1994, p. 354
  3. ^ From river bed to deck, excluding the triumphal arch (Galliazzo 1994, pp. 354f.). O'Connor 1993, p. 109 gives 48 m, 40–42 m for the height above the water level plus 14 m for the triumphal arch.
  4. ^ a b Galliazzo 1994, p. 356
  5. ^ Durán Fuentes 2004, p. 237
  6. ^ a b c Whitney, Charles S. (2003) [1929], Bridges of the World: Their Design and Construction, Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, pp. 75–79, ISBN 0-486-42995-4 

Further reading[edit]

  • Brown, David J. (1993), Bridges, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, p. 25, ISBN 0-02-517455-X 
  • Durán Fuentes, Manuel (2004), La Construcción de Puentes Romanos en Hispania, Santiago de Compostela: Xunta de Galicia, pp. 194–200, ISBN 978-84-453-3937-4 
  • Galliazzo, Vittorio (1994), I ponti romani. Catalogo generale, Vol. 2, Treviso: Edizioni Canova, pp. 353–358 (No. 754), ISBN 88-85066-66-6 
  • Graf, Bernhard (2002), Bridges that Changed the World, Munich: Prestel, pp. 20–21, ISBN 3-7913-2701-1 
  • O’Connor, Colin (1993), Roman Bridges, Cambridge University Press, pp. 109–111 (SP21), ISBN 0-521-39326-4 

External links[edit]

Media related to Alcántara Bridge at Wikimedia Commons