As the name suggests, the Roman bridge in Chaves dates back to the days of the Roman occupation during the first century AD. The sturdy granite bridge spans the River Tâmega as it meanders its way though the outskirts of Chaves.
The local name is the Ponte Trajano (Trajan's bridge) after the Roman Emperor Trajan. It was actually the Roman's who founded Chaves and named it Aquae Fluviae, after the hot springs found there. During this period Chaves was an important frontier town and the bridge allowed the town to be easily accessed from the east.
The bridge itself is 140 metres (450ft) in length and spans the River Tâmega in 12 arches. Over the centuries it has undergone many alterations and modifications, however two of the columns from the original bridge still stand. On one of these columns has inscriptions referring to the local inhabitants enslaved to build the bridge. On the top of the bridge are milestones erected by the Romans with distances to important settlements such as Braga and Leon in Spain.
One of the best things about the Roman bridge is it is closed to traffic meaning you can take a leisurely stroll across and take in the views across the river to the town. These days the crossing connects the pleasant landscaped riversides on both banks of the Tâmega. On the opposite side to Chaves is the district of Madelena, which has the feel of a small village in its own right and is well worth a look.