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Ponte Romana de Tavira

Tavira Roman Bridge
© Paolo Querci
Ponte Romana de Tavira
© Dmitry Tonkonog / CC BY-SA 3.0

Tavira Roman Bridge

The picturesque town of Tavira was founded in 400 BC and was an important trading post between Europe and North Africa. The River Gilão, on the banks of which the town is built is crossed by two main bridges.  One of these is known as the Roman Bridge (Ponte Romana) as it was built on the foundations of the bridge on the route of the Roman road which linked Faro and Castro Marim.

In medieval times the old Roman Bridge formed part of an important transport route offering one of the few crossing points of the Gilão river. As such it was fortified with towers at each end and it is even said to have had a wooden floor which could be removed as a defensive measure.

The bridge we see here today was erected in 1667.  It has seven arches, a cobbled surface and wrought iron rails along which it has become common to find love locks attached. 

Up until relatively recently the bridge was used by both pedestrians and cars. However, a flood in December 1989 caused extensive damage to the bridge after which it became exclusively for foot and non-motorized vehicles.

From the bridge there are good views of the palm-fringed riverbanks and many of the city’s finest buildings.

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