The Puente de Alcántara is one of the most important bridges that the Romans, although its name is Arabic, built in Spain and that is still standing.
It is an authentic work of art of engineering of the Roman Empire, built by the Emperor Trajan, that you should not miss.
It is not close to the main routes and tourist towns of Extremadura but it is worth taking a detour to admire it.
History of the Alcántara Bridge
This Alcántara Bridge was built over the Tagus River between the years 104 and 106 to facilitate transit between what is now Spain and Portugal.
It was ordered to be built by Emperor Trajan, one of the Roman emperors born in Hispania, in order to facilitate transit between what is now Spain and Portugal.
Due to its strategic location, it was witness to several wars in which it suffered various damages, although it was always rebuilt later.
The Alcántara Bridge was about to be demolished by the Portuguese troops in 1475 during the struggles between Portugal and Castile so that the Spanish troops would not invade Portugal, but the king of the Portuguese country saved it because he did not want that if he conquered Castile it would not be there. bridge.
What is the Alcántara Bridge like?
The spectacular Puente de Alcántara is 214 meters long and is supported by 5 pillars forming 6 arches of unequal height.
The tallest arches are the two central ones with a height of 48 meters and a width of 30 meters.
The bridge was designed in its time with some advanced calculations so that it could withstand the force of the Tagus River during its floods.
In the center of the bridge we can find a 13 meter high Arc de Triomphe that still preserves some inscriptions dedicated to Trajan. At its ends you can find two very interesting monuments.
On one side there is a Roman temple with an inscription with the name of the architect and on the other end a tower, called Torre del Oro, which was built in the 18th century to defend the city of Alcántara from possible attacks.