Pictures of Roman Aqueduct Pont du Gard - France - { 37 images } Created 6 Apr 2016

Pictures images photos of the Roman aqueduct of the Pont du Gard, Nimes, France. The ancient Roman City of Nemausus, present day Nimes, became a Roman colony in about 28 BC becoming the capital of the Roman province of Narbonne under Augustus. The city grew quickly to a population of about 60,000 and therefore needed a reliable water supply. This was achieved by building a 50 km (31 miles) long aqueduct from an inland spring at Uzes to Nimes. The aqueduct has to cross a hilly terrain winding around hill sides with only a drop of only 17 m (56ft) from the spring at Uzes over its entire 50 km length to the water cisterns at Nines, a gradient of only 1 in 3,000 . This would be a major engineering feat today but the fact that the Roman hydraulic engineers managed to build the aqueduct 2000 years, before the sophisticated hi tech surveying equipment we have today was invented, is incredible. The aqueduct required canals to be built following the contours of the land and when this was not possible tunnels were dug through hills. When the aqueduct had to cross valleys bridges were built. The aqueduct bridge that crosses the Gardon River is an incredible piece of engineering and stand intact as the Romans built it. The Pont du Gard is made up of three tiers of arches with the aqueduct running along the top. The highest point of the Pont du Gard is 48.8 m (160ft ) and its span is 360 m (393 yards) and it drops only 2.5 cm (1in) over that length. This is an amazingly accurate piece of engineering and it is estimated that the Pont du Gard would have carried a staggering 200,000 cubic meters (44 million gallons) a day. The Romans built with rounded arches which were not as strong as the later pointed arches so it means that the arch piers had to be thick. It took an estimated 50,000 tons of yellow limestone rock to build the Pont du Gard and its central arch which spans the river is 25 m (82 ft) wide making it one of the biggest known ancient Roman arch. In the 6th century AD the western Roman Empire went into decline and the lack of maintenance of the Pont du Gard meant that the aqueduct became blocked up and stopped working. The Pont du Gard survived in tact because it was an important transport bridge across the River Gardon and became a toll bridge.

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