Aqueduto das Águas Livres - Lisbon

Aqueduct of the Free Waters - Aqueduto das Águas Livres

Often, when we adopt a city like ours, we tend to get to know some of its emblematic points at the beginning of our stay in the city, but as time passes, we begin to prefer to be tourists in other cities and in other countries, forgetting a little bit ours. Since I have adopted Lisbon as my own, I want to share with you some details about the Águas Livres Aqueduct, which is very much in history!


The aqueduct was built under the order of D. João V to supply the city of Lisbon with water. The construction started in 1732 and the aqueduct began to function in 1748. Although we can only see about 941 meters, the aqueduct stretches for almost 60 km, and begins at the Mãe d'Água Velha in Belas, and goes to the Reservoir of the Mother of Water in the Amoreiras.


There were many directors of the work over time, even after its inauguration. It was Carlos Mardel who ordered the skylights to be placed in the aqueduct. Although they serve no purpose, those species of towers above the arches, embellish the architecture of the monument.


In addition to serving as a water channel, the Águas Livres Aqueduct also served as a point of access to the city, through the walks over the arches. The pedestrian crossing was interrupted because of the murderer Diogo Alves, who although not sure if it is true or legend, is said to have killed about 100 people. Diogo Alves was condemned to death in 1841 and his head is in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, preserved in formaldehyde.


Although it is no longer in operation and has not been supplying Lisbon since 1967, the aqueduct continues to speak and is in the Guinness Book because it has the largest masonry arch in the world. This arch is what is on Avenida da Gulbenkian, in the so-called Alcântara valley and measures 65.29 meters high by 28.86 meters wide.


When visiting the Águas Livres Aqueduct, it is possible to peer into a tunnel that is sealed that was where the water passed. To walk even inside the tunnels of the aqueduct, it is best to go to the Loreto Gallery in Jardim do Príncipe Real.

Calçada da Quintinha 6, 1070-225 Lisboa

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