Ponte Velha, Old Bridge in Silves

The Silves Bridge is a bridge over the Arade river in the city of Silves in the Algarve region of Portugal. Although its origin is controversial bridge as it currently exists was built in the fifteenth century.

It is possible that Silves have a bridge in Roman times, given the fact that the town was at the crossroads of Roman roads and also by opus discovery signinum near current ponte.2 In later centuries history is more obscure. As Silves (then called Xelb) was the capital of an Islamic kingdom in the XI-XII centuries, some historians who floated a bridge could have been built in the Muslim city. However, medieval descriptions of Silves carried out by Arabs and Christians never mention a bridge in place, making it unlikely the existence of such a structure to época.1 For example, cross-reporting the conquest of the city by King Sancho I, in 1189 , does not mention any ponte.

The current bridge was raised in the fifteenth century. The first documentary reference is in Lisbon Cortes of 1439, where the envoys of Silves refer to the reconstruction work of a ponte.1 Other documents indicate that the bridge was under construction in 1459 but in 1473 was already finished.

In the early seventeenth century the bridge lost two arches and had to be restored. In 1716 it was again restored by bricklayer Inácio Mendes, but reusing the structures anteriores.1 The stylistic structure of the bridge, however, was not changed in such reformas.

In the twentieth century an arch of the bridge, located on the right bank, was eliminated for the construction of the promenade. In 1950 it was raised for a nearby concrete bridge and the old bridge has become pedestrian.

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