Ponte da Cava da Velha

Melgaço, Portugal

The Bridge of Cava da Velha (Ponte da Cava da Velha) is a Roman bridge, situated in the civil parish of Castro Laboreiro e Lamas de Mouro, in the municipality of Melgaço. The name Ponte Nova indicates the existence of another structure constructed in the same local (or nearby) at one time anteceding the current bridge. This may actually be the nearby Ponte de São Brás or Ponta da Assureira.

The bridge linked the Roman road to Espanha. The bridge was largely constructed in the 1st century, but does not appear in the two most comprehensive lists of Roman bridges. During the Middle Ages, the bridge was reconstructed to take on its current form.

The bridge is situated in an isolated, rural area within the Nature Park of Peneda do Gerês. A bucolic location links riverbank between two Roman-era pavements, that is located 200 metres from the Bridge of Assureira and Chapel of São Brás. The ramp arches are supported on the granite margins.

The structure, in irregular stone, has supported by worked ashlar with joints filled by smaller stones horizontally. Between the arches are prismatic starling upstream, and rectangular buttresses downstream. On the bottom of the arches are holes to fit the frame. The pavement is formed by large irregular slabs, protected by stone slab guards.



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Founded: 1st century AD
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Portugal

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Eduarda Duarte (2 years ago)
Ponte da Cava Velha is surrounded by a beautiful landscape.
Jorge Dias (2 years ago)
Passa o tempo mas fica muita história.
Marco Bernardino (2 years ago)
Belo banho numa água pura e gelada.
Al Ykne (4 years ago)
Be there... you'll know!
Pedro Oleirinha (4 years ago)
A very cool bridge in the middle of nature
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The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid. It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.

The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid (36 m × 29 m, about 10 m in height), accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one. This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture.

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The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.

The monument was partially reconstructed during the 1980s. It is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 14,9 km from Sassari and 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site. The opening times vary throughout the year.