Free Waters Aqueduct

Free Waters Aqueduct
Free Waters Aqueduct: Free Waters Aqueduct - Click to enlarge
Calçada da Quintinha, 6 - 1070-225 Lisboa
Phone: (+351) 218.100.215

URL: Free Waters Aqueduct

Free Waters Aqueduct
Classified as a National Monument, the Aqueduto das Águas Livres is one of the world's most extensive systems of water supply, reaching a total length of 58 kilometres; the name is due to the fact that the water flowed exclusively by the force of gravity, in other words, freely.

In 1571, Francisco de Holanda suggested to king Sebastian the reconstruction of an aqueduct at the site of the former Roman dam of Olissipo, to guarantee the supply of fresh water to the capital, but it was only in the 18th century, during the reign of king John V, that the actual construction began, entirely funded by a tax on meat, wine and olive oil supported by the population of Lisbon.

The works started under the guidance of the architect Manuel da Maia and the sergeant-major Custódio de Vieira, who was responsible for the design of arches spanning the Alcântara valley; it is worth mentioning that the Free Waters Aqueduct boasts the world's tallest stone arch.

The aqueduct, which was concluded in 1834 (although it began to supply water to Lisbon in 1748), displays visible Gothic influences in a period dominated by the Baroque style.

A public walkway along the interior gallery, named Arches Walk, which once offered a wonderful panoramic view to pedestrians, has been closed since 1844 due to the large number of suicides and murders, including those committed by the famous bandit Diogo Alves.

Now, the Water Museum, in charge of the aqueduct, organizes guided visits and tours on different dates and hours, according to the season.

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