Campolide is not an area of Lisbon that sees many tourists. On a mission to find Aqueduto das Águas Livres, as usual I walked, disregarding the guide book advice to catch a bus. It didn’t look far on the map. The locals I asked assured me it wasn’t far. But finding it involved a lot of interesting uphill and roundabout, as you can see from the gallery.
I already had some idea of what I was looking for because we’d passed beneath it on the coach into Lisbon. Finally, perseverance paid off.
But the garden scarcely revealed a clue of what I was about to experience.
Aqueduto das Águas Livres was a monumental undertaking, designed in the 18th century to bring water to the parched city of Lisbon. The main course of the aqueduct covers 18km, but the whole canal network extends almost 58km. Construction began in 1731, the centrepiece a total of 35 arches spanning the Alcantara valley, conceived by Custodio Vieira, the tallest being 65metres high. Opened in 1748, while still incomplete, amazingly it withstood the devastating earthquake of 1755.
Fascinating, don’t you think? I thought I’d already used the title Scaling the Heights before, and so it proved, when I managed to Ascend to considerable heights, early this year in lovely Florence. I do enjoy a good view.