Aqueduct (bridge)

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Pont du Gard, France, a Roman aqueduct built circa 40-60 CE. It is one of France's top tourist attractions and a World Heritage Site. Pont du Gard BLS.jpg
Pont du Gard, France, a Roman aqueduct built circa 40–60 CE. It is one of France's top tourist attractions and a World Heritage Site.
Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, Italy, built by Luigi Vanvitelli. It is a World Heritage Site and one of the finest examples of an aqueduct in Europe. Vanvitelli aqueduct.jpg
Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, Italy, built by Luigi Vanvitelli. It is a World Heritage Site and one of the finest examples of an aqueduct in Europe.

Aqueducts or water bridges are bridges for conveying water. They are constructed to convey watercourses across gaps such as valleys or ravines. The term aqueduct may also be used to refer to the entire watercourse, as well as the bridge. [1] Large navigable aqueducts are used as transport links for boats or ships. Aqueducts must span a crossing at the same level as the watercourses on each end. The word is derived from the Latin aqua ("water") and ducere ("to lead"). [2] Therefore meaning "to lead water". A modern version of an aqueduct is a pipeline bridge. They may take the form of tunnels, networks of surface channels and canals, covered clay pipes or monumental bridges.


Ancient bridges for water

Mathur Aqueduct, India Mathur Hanging Trough Bridge.JPG
Mathur Aqueduct, India

Although particularly associated with the Romans, aqueducts were likely first used by the Minoans around 2000 BCE. The Minoans had developed what was then an extremely advanced irrigation system, including several aqueducts. [3]

In the seventh century BCE, the Assyrians built an 80 km long limestone aqueduct, which included a 10 m high section to cross a 300 m wide valley, to carry water to their capital city, Nineveh. [4]

Roman Empire

Bridges were a distinctive feature of Roman aqueducts which were built in all parts of the Roman Empire, from Germany to Africa, and especially in the city of Rome, where they supplied water to public baths and for drinking. Roman aqueducts set a standard of engineering that was not surpassed for more than a thousand years.[ citation needed ]

Ancient Indian aqueduct in Hampi Hampi aqueduct.JPG
Ancient Indian aqueduct in Hampi

Modern aqueducts

Navigable aqueducts, also called water bridges, are water-filled bridges to allow vessels on a waterway to cross ravines or valleys. During the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, navigable aqueducts were constructed as part of the boom in canal-building. A notable revolving aqueduct has been made on the Bridgewater Canal. This allowed vessels to cross at high and low levels while conserving water that would be lost in the operation of locks.

Notable aqueducts

Roman aqueducts

Aqueduct of Segovia Aqueduct of Segovia 02.jpg
Aqueduct of Segovia
Aqueduct Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico Luna llena sobre Acueducto de Santiago de Queretaro..jpg
Aqueduct Santiago de Queretaro, Mexico

Other aqueducts

An Aqueduct in Vila do Conde, Portugal Vila do Conde 3.jpg
An Aqueduct in Vila do Conde, Portugal
The Aqueduto dos Pegoes in Tomar, Portugal Tomar December 2008-4.jpg
The Aqueduto dos Pegões in Tomar, Portugal
Kavala aqueduct, Greece Aquadukt Kavala GREECE.jpg
Kavala aqueduct, Greece
Aqueduct Vitelma in Bogota, Colombia Planta de tratamiento de agua potable Vitelma.jpg
Aqueduct Vitelma in Bogotá, Colombia

See also


  1. "aqueduct", Britannica CD 2000
  2. "aqueduct", Britannica CD 2000
  3. Minoan Aqueducts: A Pioneering Technology,
  4. Thorkild Jacobsen and Seton Lloyd, Sennacherib's Aqueduct at Jerwan, Oriental Institute Publication 24, University of Chicago Press, 1935]
  5. Mexico – Travel

Related Research Articles

Sextus Julius Frontinus was a prominent Roman civil engineer, author, soldier and senator of the late 1st century AD. He was a successful general under Domitian, commanding forces in Roman Britain, and on the Rhine and Danube frontiers. A novus homo, he was consul three times. Frontinus ably discharged several important administrative duties for Nerva and Trajan. However, he is best known to the post-Classical world as an author of technical treatises, especially De aquaeductu, dealing with the aqueducts of Rome.

Navigable aqueduct bridge structure carrying a navigable waterway over an obstacle

Navigable aqueducts are bridge structures that carry navigable waterway canals over other rivers, valleys, railways or roads. They are primarily distinguished by their size, carrying a larger cross-section of water than most water-supply aqueducts. Although Roman aqueducts were sometimes used for transport, aqueducts were not generally used until the 17th century when the problems of summit level canals had been solved and modern canal systems were developed. The 662-metre (2,172 ft) long steel Briare aqueduct carrying the Canal latéral à la Loire over the River Loire was built in 1896. It was ranked as the longest navigable aqueduct in the world for more than a century, until the Magdeburg Water Bridge in Germany took the title in the early 21st century.

Roman engineering

The ancient Romans were famous for their advanced engineering accomplishments, although some of their inventions were improvements on older ideas, concepts and inventions. Technology for bringing running water into cities was developed in the east, but transformed by the Romans into a technology inconceivable in Greece. The architecture used in Rome was strongly influenced by Greek and Etruscan sources.

Aqua Augusta (Naples) Aqueduct

The Aqua Augusta, or Serino Aqueduct, was one of the largest, most complex and costliest aqueduct systems in the Roman world; it supplied water to at least eight ancient cities in the Bay of Naples including Pompeii and Herculaneum. This aqueduct was unlike any other of its time, being a regional network rather than being focussed on one urban centre.

Roman aqueduct type of aqueduct built by the Romans

The Romans constructed aqueducts throughout their Republic and later Empire, to bring water from outside sources into cities and towns. Aqueduct water supplied public baths, latrines, fountains, and private households; it also supported mining operations, milling, farms, and gardens.

Aqua Anio Novus Roman aqueduct

Aqua Anio Novus was an ancient aqueduct of Rome. Like the Aqua Claudia, it was begun by emperor Caligula in 38 AD and completed in 52 AD by Claudius, who dedicated them both on August 1. Together with the Aqua Anio Vetus, Aqua Marcia and Aqua Claudia, it is regarded as one of the "four great aqueducts of Rome."

Aqua Claudia Roman aqueduct

Aqua Claudia, was an ancient Roman aqueduct that, like the Anio Novus, was begun by Emperor Caligula in 38 AD and finished by Emperor Claudius in 52 AD.

Aqueduct may refer to:

Águas Livres Aqueduct

The Águas Livres Aqueduct is a historic aqueduct in the city of Lisbon, Portugal. It is one of the most remarkable examples of 18th-century Portuguese engineering. The main course of the aqueduct covers 18 km, but the whole network of canals extends through nearly 58 km.

Baths of Agrippa

The Baths of Agrippa was a structure of ancient Rome, in what is now Italy, built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. It was the first of the great thermae constructed in the city, and also the first public bath.

Portus Julius was the first harbour specifically constructed to be a base for the Roman western naval fleet, the classis Misenensis. The port was located at Misenum on a peninsula at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples. Portus Julius was named in honour of Octavian's great-uncle and adoptive father, Julius Caesar and the Julian clan.

Santa Clara Aqueduct

The Aqueduct of Santa Clara is the second largest Portuguese aqueduct system. Built between 1626 and 1714, it includes 999 arches stretching for 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from the spring of Terroso in the municipality of Póvoa de Varzim to the Convent of Santa Clara in the municipality of Vila do Conde.

Canal Latéral de la Garonne canal

The Canal de Garonne, formerly known as Canal latéral à la Garonne, is a French canal dating from the mid-19th century which connects Toulouse to Castets-en-Dorthe. The remainder of the route to Bordeaux uses the river Garonne. It is the continuation of the Canal du Midi which connects the Mediterranean with Toulouse.

Carioca Aqueduct

The Carioca Aqueduct is an aqueduct in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The aqueduct was built in the middle of the 18th century to bring fresh water from the Carioca River to the population of the city. It is an impressive example of colonial architecture and engineering.

De aquaeductu is a two-book official report given to the emperor Nerva or Trajan on the state of the aqueducts of Rome, and was written by Julius Sextus Frontinus at the end of the 1st century AD. It is also known as De Aquis or De Aqueductibus Urbis Romae. It is the earliest official report of an investigation made by a distinguished citizen on Roman engineering works to have survived. Frontinus had been appointed Water Commissioner by the emperor Nerva in AD 96.

Chapultepec aqueduct

The Chapultepec aqueduct was built to provide potable water to Tenochtitlan, now known as Mexico City. This fresh water was transported from the Chapultepec springs. Two aqueducts following the same route from the springs were built by the Aztecs during the 15th century, the first destroyed by flooding and the second by the Spanish. After the Spanish conquest a colonial aqueduct was built, the ruins of which are located near Metro Sevilla.

Roman Dam of Belas dam in Queluz e Belas, Lisbon

The Roman Dam of Belas is a 3rd-century Roman barrier constructed to serve the city of Olisipo, located in civil parish of Queluz e Belas, municipality of Sintra.

Aqueduct (water supply) structure constructed to convey water

An aqueduct is a watercourse constructed to carry water from a source to a distribution point far away. In modern engineering, the term aqueduct is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose. The term aqueduct also often refers specifically to a bridge on an artificial watercourse. The word is derived from the Latin aqua ('water') and ducere. Aqueducts were used in ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, and ancient Rome. In modern times, the largest aqueducts of all have been built in the United States to supply the country's biggest cities. The simplest aqueducts are small ditches cut into the earth. Much larger channels may be used in modern aqueducts. Aqueducts sometimes run for some or all of their path through tunnels constructed underground. Modern aqueducts may also use pipelines. Historically, agricultural societies have constructed aqueducts to irrigate crops and supply large cities with drinking water.

Amoreira Aqueduct 16th-century aqueduct in Elvas, Portugal

The Amoreira Aqueduct is a 16th-century aqueduct that spans the Portuguese municipality of Elvas, bringing water into the fortified seat.