The Ansignan aqueduct-bridge, an astonishing Roman vestige

The Ansignan aqueduct-bridge is thought to have been built between 220 and 270, and renovated over the centuries, notably in the 13th century. It is built on two levels: the first is a bridge-tunnel and the second is an aqueduct, where the water still flows.
170 meters long and 15 meters high, this Gallo-Roman structure comprises 29 arches of varying sizes, the largest of which spans the Agly River.

It is thought to have been created to supply the Roman domain of Ansinius, now known as Ansignan, but its purpose remains a mystery.
An emblematic building of the Roman occupation of the area, it is remarkable for its architecture and exceptional state of preservation.
It has been listed as a Historic Monument since 1974.
All that remains of this simple Roman bridge are the remains of a brick arch on the right bank. A date between 220 and 270 A.D. has thus been retained for the manufacture of the bricks making up the remains of the arches, as bricks were no longer used in the Middle Ages.
Over the centuries, the bridge has undergone a number of refurbishments. Today's aqueduct bridge dates back to the 9th century AD, when a road tunnel was built, with a gallery 5 m high at each end and around 2 m wide. This paved tunnel, illuminated by side openings, is surmounted by the aqueduct canal. Extensions were built on the right and left banks, giving the building its current size.
The four large central arches spanning the river were rebuilt later, probably in the 13th-14th centuries.

A vast landscaping project to restore the building's visibility and enhance its value is currently underway. In 2021 and 2022, the municipality has acquired the adjoining land to enable the building to be illuminated. This is planned in partnership with the Ansigna'Muse association for the tourist season, and will include shows, art exhibitions and site discovery activities.

A project to generate electricity using a turbine installed inside an existing underground canal is also under study.

This project ties in with the creation of the Corbières-Fenouillèdes Regional Nature Park, in which the bridge-aqueduct will be located.

 

Roman aqueduct
66200 Ansignan 

Tel: 04 68 59 20 13, and 04 68 59 09 94 


 

http://www.cc-aglyfenouilledes.fr

 

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