About Puente de Alcantara
Puente de Alcantara (Alcantara Bridge) in Spain is an impressive stone arch structure crossing the Tajo River and acting as the entrance to Alcantara.
Puente de Alcantara history
Puente de Alcantara was originally built by the Romans, but much of it has since been the subject of reconstruction, mostly due to damage caused during battles.
Originally a defensive enclosure, the bridge was rebuilt, according to its inscription, around 997 under the leadership of Almanzor. However, all that remains from that period is a spur, located on the side of the bridge opposite the city, and a few decorative marbles of Visigoth origin.
In 1214, the Moors destroyed one of its arches, which was reconstructed in 1543 and, in 1762, King Charles III repaired another Puente de Alcantara arch which the Spanish had destroyed to keep Portuguese forces out during the War of the Spanish Succession.
In the middle ages, Puente de Alcantara was a checking point for merchants and visitors and included a fortified entrance way. The centre of the bridge contains an arch dedicated to the Emperor Trajan.
The Puente de Alcantara has been renovated several times since the Visigoth era. The most important of these projects occurred during the reign of Alfonso X, when a tower, built in the Mudejar style and modeled after the Catholic Monarchs of 1484, was added to the western end of the bridge.
In 1921, it was declared a national and cultural monument.
Puente de Alcantara today
The east side of the Puente de Alcantara retains the 10th century Gate of Alcantara, a gate of Arabic origin, with major contributions from the Christian period. The entire bridge rests on two arches, the largest being the central arch, under which the Tagus River freely flows.
From the bridge, there are beautiful views.
Getting to Puente de Alcantara
Buses 3, 62 and 94 pass nearby. The bridge is within walking distance of other attractions of Alacantara including the tourist office.