SummaryThe bridge across Gard River was an
SummaryThe Pont du Gard is an aqueduct bridge, presently situated near the city of Nîmes, France. Its name directly translates to “Bridge of the Gard” from French.
It was constructed by the Roman empire and was believed to have been built by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Augustus’ son-in-law, around 19 BC. However, latest theories suggest that the building took place in the middle of the first century AD. It is believed that the labour of a thousand men went in the building of the aqueduct. The bridge was constructed entirely without the use of mortar, the need of which was eliminated as the stones used were precisely cut to fit together perfectly. The Pont du Gard is a famous Roman monument in the present, although it was built with the very specific practical purpose to supply water to the area.
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It may be a small part of the 50 km long Nîmes aqueduct, 275 meters long, but a bridge across Gard River was an essential requirement for the whole project to be completed. It stands nearly 50 meters high above the river, making it the highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges, and has three tiers of arches. The first one consists of 6 arches (22 meters high), the second- of 11 arches (the same size), and the third- of 35 smaller arches (7 meters high). The Nîmes Aqueduct was believed to have functioned until fourth century AD, after which its maintenance was neglected and clogging by mineral deposits reduced the flow of water significantly. Later, it was only used for watering the crops in the area, as the water was no longer enough for the fountains, bathes, and homes of the Nîmes’ citizens.
The usage of the aqueduct came to an end in the sixth century, as recent theories suggest. However, The Pont du Gard still came in use because of its secondary function, as a bridge. It suffered serious damage in 1620 because of war artillery passing, but was since repaired.
In 1747 the building of a bridge out from the first tier of arches was finished. The French engineer Henri Pitot constructed it to ease the road traffic. The Pond du Gard is a unique and complex construction, which showed the Roman architects’ genius for designing magnificent structures with many practical uses.ArgumentThe Pont du Gard is an outstanding structure which deserves to be protected by UNESCO for several reasons. It has a unique and complex construction, illustrating the Roman engineers’ genius. The building of this enormous formation required 50,000 tons of limestone. The brilliant engineering eliminated the use of mortar because of the stones fitting together perfectly.
The building of three tiers of arches was a creative solution to reducing the weight of the bridge and relieving the pressure on the arches from the first and from the second tier. This gave the bridge lateral stabilty and helped it stand the test of time to become one of the most well preserved aqueducts in the present. The arches’ width and height vary, which shows how thoughtfully were they positioned.
The Pont du Gard has a slight curve toward the upstream which makes the whole structure sustainable to floods, just as the first tier not starting from the river helps for. The details on the bridge show how carefully the terrain was studied before the aqueduct was started and how well the infrastructure was adapted. Furthermore, Pond du Gard does not only satisfy UNESCO’s criteria for being in the list of “World Heritage Sites” but needs protection from the risks facing it. There have been several cases of it being at the serious danger of collapsing.
Such occasion was when it fell into disuse after the fall of the Roman Empire, when its survival was only due to its use as a toll bridge. Another case of it suffering serious damage was in 1620, when it was used for transporting war artillery of Henri, Duke of Rohan. It has since been repaired twice, in 1703 and in 1850. Major floods in 1958, 1998 and 2002 significantly weakened the bridge as well and increased the risk of it collapsing in the future. Today, the Pond du Gard is a popular tourist destination, as well as a monument of this period of the Roman Empire history and a masterpiece of human’s creative genius.
Works Cited:”Pont Du Gard Aqueduct.” Ancient History Encyclopedia,
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pontdugard.fr/en/unesco-world-heritage>Anirudh. “Pont Du Gard | 10 Facts On The Aqueduct Bridge In France.” Learnodo Newtonic, 5 Oct. 2016, romanaqueducts.info/aquasite/nimes3/>Rmhprize. “The Pont Du Gard and the Pont De Roquefavour.” Enrmhprize. org, 8 May 2017, 2017,
romanaqueducts.info/aquasite/nimes3/>Rmhprize. “The Pont Du Gard and the Pont De Roquefavour.” Enrmhprize.
org, 8 May 2017,