Pont du Gard

Europe

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The Pont du Gard is one of the most famous and most visited sights in Southern France. It is an Unesco World Heritage Sight for being the highest Roman aqueduct bridge and one of the best preserved. It was built in the first century AD and shows the great architectural and engineering skills. Nemausus (today’s Nîmes) was an important city of the Roman empire. The locals there adapted much of the Roman culture and grew a liking to thermal baths, fountains and other water consuming pastimes. However, water supplies were difficult to direct to Nemausus due to its geography, with hills lying in the west and lower plains to the south and east. The solution was to create a 50km long aqueduct beginning at the natural springs near Uzès north of Nîmes and transport the water to the city. The Pont du Gard is the part where the aqueduct crosses the river Gardon in the département of Gard. (I might be the only one seeing the irony in building a bridge for water to cross water.)

After the fall of the Roman empire, the aqueduct ceased to be used but still provided a road for river crossings. A few stones have been stolen for other constructions in the area but much work has been done to preverse the sight in the modern times.

 

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engraving by the guild responsible for constructing this part of the bridge

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the river Gardon

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Once you reach this panoramic viewpoint, take a look at your five-euro-bill.

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