I’m participating in the A to Z Challenge for the entire month of April, by posting an interesting topic for each letter of the alphabet. This excludes Sneak Peek Sundays. Follow this link to nearly 2000 other bloggers and authors.
The A to Z Challenge – participating blogs
Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter P — P for Pont du Gard.
While researching my magnum opus (scroll to previous posts to learn what that is), I came upon an amazing work of Roman engineering – the Pont du Gard or Bridge of the Gard. Comprised of 54,000 tons of stone, with some blocks weighing up to 6 tons each, the Pont du Gard was built by the Roman Empire between 40 and 60 AD, this aqueduct is 900’ long, 160’ high, and was just over 31 miles long. Like so many of the lasting ancient constructions, it was built without mortar with precisely cut stone. The weight of the arches folding in on themselves works with gravity to hold it all together. It’s considered to be Roman masonry at its finest example.
Designed to transport clean water from freshwater hillside springs across the Gard River to Nîmes, the aqueduct was built with a slight sloping grade to help the spring water along. An analysis of the intact remains determined when the aqueduct was working in full swing, it transported up to 100 gallons per second, or around 50 million gallons of water per day, and provided water to homes, fountains, spas, and sewage lines. Undeniably genius.
In the mid-1800’s, the Pont du Gard received much needed repairs under Napoleon III. Since then, floods have damaged the site. Because of its architectural and cultural value, it was deemed a World Heritage Site and added to UNESCO in 1985 (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) It continues to be maintained for the future.
The UNESCO List
Here’s a fabulous interactive site for the Pont du Gard Aqueduct that puts you right on top. (it’s a little like Google Earth)
The history of Dry Stone (mortarless) Construction
This video must be watched on youtube. Click the link offered.
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