Pont du Gard


Pont du Gard

The Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct in the south of France, located near Remoulins, in the Gard département.

Table of contents
1 Name
2 Description
3 History

Name

Pont du Gard means litterally bridge over the Gard (river). The Gard river, which has given its name to the Gard département, does actually not exist under this name. The river, formed by many tributaries, several of which are called Gardon, is itself called Gardon until its end.

Description

Built on three levels, the Pont is 49 m high, and the longest level is 275 m long.

On its first level, it carries a road and at the top of the third level, a water conduit, which is 1.8 metres (6 feet) high and 1.2 metres (4 feet) wide and has a gradient of 0.4 per cent.

History

The pont was built shortly before the Christian era. It was part of a nearly 50 km acqueduct, bringing water from springs near Uzès to the Roman city of Nemausus (Nîmes). The full aqueduct had a gradient of 34 cm/km. The pont itself was built so that the water could cross the small Gardon river valley. Around 20,000 cubic meters of water was delivered daily to Nîmes though the pont.

From the 4th century, it began to be less maintained, and deposits filled up to two thirds of the conduit space. By the 9th century, it became unusable, and the people of the area started using its stones for their own usage.

From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, the Pont was used as a road bridge to cross the river. The pillars of the second level were cut thiner to facilitate the traffic, thus jeopardizing the stability of the building. From 1702, the cuts in the pillars were filled. In 1747, a bridge was built next to the arches of the lower level, so that the road traffic could continue without damaging the Roman aqueduct.

The Pont du Gard was added to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985.


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