Ponte de Lima Roman Bridge

Ponte de Lima, Portugal

One of the oldest towns in Portugal (founded in 1125), Ponte de Lima was historically significant as a Roman settlement on the road from Braga to Santiago de Compostela and Lugo, and the first place in Portugal getting a municipal charter.

The main symbol of Ponte de Lima, that together with the river names the town, is its bridge. In reality, it’s a composite formed by two bridges: a medieval part, which is bigger, starting on the left bank of the river and stretching to the church of Santo António da Torre Velha and beyond, for the length of two more arches. After that, starts the roman part of the bridge. It is only five arches long, starting from the big arch already lying on the old, dry riverbed.

Going down the stairs, one will also see the foundation of the Old Tower, maybe the first of the old medieval defensive system. The Roman bridge, presumably, dates back to the 1st century since that is the age that witnessed the opening of one of the Roman military ways of the Conventus Bracaraugustanus, connecting Braga to Astorga, more exactly the Via XIX, opened by Emperor Augustus. 

Regarding the medieval part of the bridge, although one can go back in time, at least until the reigns of Pedro I and Fernando (that directly connect to the construction of the walls and towers that fortified the town, finished by 1370) or even King Dinis (according to the documents mentioning a bridge that could also have been made of wood) we definitely know about the existence of the medieval bridge during the reign of Manuel I, more exactly in 1504, as this monarch ordered the new paving of the bridge and its decoration with battlements that were no longer necessary as a defensive and military option.

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Founded: 1st century AD
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www.visitepontedelima.pt

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tanya Mace (3 months ago)
Ponte de Lima in Portugal... sweet village on the edge of the Lima River. Ancient Roman Bridge used to be the only link over to get to Santiago. Gorgeous waterfront where all of life, commerce, shopping and eating are lived. We fell in love with the food, culture and people.
Andre Go (3 months ago)
Beautiful place!
Erdal Bıçakcı (3 months ago)
Very nice pleace
blair (4 months ago)
If you're interested in history you should definitely go
luis goncalves (6 months ago)
Realy beautiful this small vilage... have no dubt will come back again.
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Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.