What to visit / Themed routes / Water Culture Trail / Roman aqueduct
  • Roman aqueduct - Barcelona

  • Roman aqueduct - Barcelona

  • Roman aqueduct - Plaça Nova - Barcelona

Roman aqueduct

This vestige of water culture is as ancient as the city itself and dates from the 1st century BC when the Roman colony of Barcino was founded. The Roman settlers wanted access to all the amenities needed by an urban community: public and private baths, fountains, drinking water for the well-off households, artisans' workshops and sewage treatment systems.

The wells that drew groundwater from the walled settlement of Barcino fell short of their requirements and they had to look for a more plentiful supply. The borough of Montcada was the chosen site for an 11-kilometre-long aqueduct to bring water to the city. Most of the aqueduct ran underground with some sections consisting of arches that carried the water above ground. The aqueduct was in service until the end of the 6th or early 7th centuries, during the Visigothic period. In the 10th century, the water channel, known as the Rec Comtal, closely followed the original route of the Roman aqueduct.

Written documents from centuries ago and archaeological remains bear witness to the route of the aqueduct that ran from Montcada to Barcino. Currently only a 20-metre section can be seen. It was discovered in 1988 on the side of a building in Plaça del Vuit de Març and consists of four arches and five pillars. The twin arches in Plaça Nova, attached to the left tower on the northern gate of the Roman wall were rebuilt in 1958 and remind visitors of the exact point where the Roman aqueduct entered the city.

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