The engineering talent of aqueduct builders from ancient Rome has always astounded me. During those times, the majority of people were happy to use the water from rivers and wells, while building aqueducts, which were supposed to provide water for enormous Roman cities, was a true challenge. Water pipes had not been yet invented, so water had to be coming down. But what if the water source was many kilometers away?
As a Roman architect from 1 AD, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, once said: „there is nothing more needed for living than water”. Supplying water to a large number of houses required the Romans to be very creative and knowledgable. Great minds of architects and strong muscles of builders gave rise to the creation of incredible constructions, which piped water even from sources that were several dozen of kilometers away.
These aqueducts were simply waterworks that used the force of gravity. The water was just pouring down the terracotta or lead pipes over many kilometers. One of the most preserved aqueducts is Pont du Gard of which the total decrease, over 50 km, was 17 m, which is 34 cm per km. This incredible monument is situated in the south of France. The shape of ground was not that significant for the constructors of aqueducts. The pipes were created under and above the earth’s surface in the form of a multi-level construction, frequently also serving as a bridge. The architects also ensured that water was of best quality. This is why the water from the territories around the aqueducts was collected too and the health state of habitants near the water source was observed.
The Romans also built a wonderful aqueduct in Spanish Segovia, which can still be seen in the centre of the city today. The distance between it and its source is slightly shorter than that of Pont du Gard, but 17 km still makes an impression. Thanks to aqueducts, water could be supplied to cities with large populations. For example, Rome, which in 2 AD was inhabited by around 1 million citizens, was supplied with water by 11 aqueducts with the aggregate length of 420 kilometers.
I could gladly help you see the Roman aqueducts in Spain, France and Italy, which beautifully blend into their landscape.
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