#196 Bridge of Arta

Location

The bridge of Arta is the legendary River Bridge of Arachthos


Construction Data

It has a length of 142 meters and a width of 3.75 meters. It consists of 4 arches one of which is a little larger. In between the large arches are smaller and perforated relief arches.

Coordinates: Ν 39°09?06? Ε 20°58?29?

Altitude: 4 m.


Historical Data

It took its current form in 1612. Over time the bridge has undergone many additions and reconstructions. Despite these different eras of its construction the building is an architectural masterpiece and blends harmoniously with the natural environment.

The way of its construction indicates the starting point of its history. Even from the pre-Christian years, ancient Ambracians created at this point a passage, a work which of course must have been improved during the Hellenistic period, when Pyrrhus made Ambracia capital of the state, and even later - in Roman times - with the blossoming of Nicopolis and the increase in commercial activities.

King Pyrros then allegedly built a bridge whose foundations still exist and are the basis of the present one. The pedestals of that bridge were built with large stones in regular with isodomic masonry, finial, so it reminiscent of the masonry of the Hellenistic mansions. This structure of the pedestals, in the view of the scholar John Tsoutsinou indicates that the bridge was built during the Hellenistic period, and probably is the work of Pyrros (3rd century BC).

On the these foundations, during the Byzantine period four large arches were constructed, in between of which their legs were inserted and as well to the distant parts of the bridge eight small arched openings.

Finally during the Ottoman occupation the pavement in the low curvatures between the arches was raised, to make the passage of it easier. Thusly, the construction of the legendary bridge was completed.

The bridge of Arta is not only a symbol for the great architecture, but also for its great historical significance. After the liberation of Greece from the Turks it was the border of the new state.

During the German occupation in 1945, the bridge suffered damage, as the Germans built on it an iron bridge, the weight of which shook the balance of the bridge and essentially destroyed its north side.

The final blow was in 1983, when the bridge was in danger to be torn down because of the construction of the dam of Pournari, but was rescued at the last minute. The continuous flow of water was stopped resulting in the surfacing of the wooden foundations of the bridge.

The legend and history of the bridge in front of the magnificent view come alive for the visitor. Well-known is the folk variant of "The Bridge of Arta", in which 45 craftsmen and 60 pupils build the bridge and rebuilt it, and it was getting demolished again and again. The song has 46 verses and 300 variants are known. Thusly, the legend of the Master Builder who made a human sacrifice was created, who buried in the foundations his own wife in order to build the bridge.


Additional information of historical, cultural and tourism interest

The history of the region of Arta, long lost in the mists of time. The years of history are evidenced and certified by numerous classical, Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments that one can encounter in a single trip, convincing and satisfying even the most skeptical ones about the grandeur of the area. The Wall of Ancient Amvrakia, the Temple of Pythian Apollo Savior, the Castle, the famous monasteries and churches (Pandanassa, Parigoritria, Panagia Vlacherna, Red Church, etc.), the famous bridge of Arta, the Little Theatre of Amvrakia, the Mosque Faik Pasha in Imaret, among many others, are representative samples of the aspect of Arta in time. Besides visiting the monuments themselves, there is the opportunity to visit museums and collections that with their exhibits encourage us to travel mentally, in enchanting Arta, over the centuries. These are the Archaeological Museum of Arta, the Historical Museum "Skoufa", the Folklore Museum "Skoufa", The Collection of Folklore Material P. Karali and the information center of Salaora.

One, beyond the historical side of the city, will discover the traditional villages with their great history (Peta Kompoti), unparalleled natural beauty (Agnanta, Vourgareli) with the springs, the bridges, the clear waters and breathtaking views. Also, one will know the ecosystems of the area and the landscapes of exceptional ecological value, as Tzoumerka, the Ambracian Gulf and the valley of Acheloos. These, will guide the visitor to the wild, majestic landscapes, important wetlands and intact lagoons and to the most important wetlands in the Mediterranean, respectively. Also, for further information, one can visit the old port of Arta with its imposing lighthouse, the Koprena, in which operates an Environmental Education Center and a Museum of Natural History.

Apart from the points and sights of cultural-historical-cultural and natural interest, the visitor will be able to take advantage of the impressive, huge, mountains that surround and embrace Arta, and its gurgling, crystal, rushing rivers, in the context of alternative tourism. Focusing on Tzoumerka, Arachthos, Amvrakikos, a wide range of choices unfolds in front of all interested parties.

Such choices are the water routes of Canoe Kayak and Rafting, in the artificial lake of Pournari in Neochori of the municipality of Arachthos and in Arachthos, respectively. Other activities, such as horse riding, cycling, climbing routes, hiking trails, Hang gliding, paragliding, and participation in Spa-Thermal Bath Tourism (Thermal Baths of Chanopoulo) and in numerous local traditions and customs (festivals, celebrations etc.), complete the range of activities of alternative tourism, offering new experiences in nature, as it is disclosed in its most primal form.