Let’s go for a walk at Águas Livres Aqueduct!

Wed, 26.02.2020

Water supply of Águas Livres Aqueduct

On the last February 26th, our Portuguese language school organized a guided visit at Águas Livres Aqueduct.

The guided visit was held by a guide of Museu da Água and the route was Campolide-Monsanto. Indira Leão, our history teacher, accompanied us during this sunny afternoon.

The Águas Livres Aqueduct it was built by King D. João V, in order to supply water to Lisbon. Only the neighbourhood of Alfama had a lot of water and was not supplied by the aqueduct.

The construction was financed through a tax created on some essential goods. According to the Manuel da Maia project, the structure started to supply water in 1748. It has 14 km in length from the main source and several subsidiary and distribution aqueducts. With a total of 58 km, it supplied a network of fountains in the city. The Aqueduct has, in its most monumental part, a set of 35 arches, over the Alcântara Valley. There, the largest span arch in the world stands out, with 65 m in height and 32 m in height.

The waters reached Lisbon at the Amoreiras Mother Water Reservoir, built between 1746 and 1834. The guide told us that the waters inside of the Aqueduct were dirty and sources of epidemics.

Besides, the Aqueduct was previously an access bridge to the city. It was through that bridge that we could reach Monsanto.

It was a great walking though the aqueduct.

Below, you can check out our photos.


Guided Tour and Crossing of Águas Livres Aqueduct

Our Portuguese language school continues to organize visits with different themes for its students. It’s very important for us that our students get to know Lisbon as much as possible, while practicing Portuguese. Inasmuch as learning Portuguese is also get to know the history and gastronomy of Lisbon and Portugal. Therefore, on February 26th we’ll have a guided tour in Águas Livres Aqueduct!

Museu da Água offers the visit to the public. It consists of the outer crossing of the Alcântara Valley. It will be 1km in the direction of Campolide-Monsanto and return in the direction of Monsanto-Campolide. It will be a total of 2 km, with 1 hour of duration. The guided visit will be in Portuguese and it’s free for our students! We advise you to bring water and comfortable shoes. 

Built between 1731 and 1799 the Águas Livres Aqueduct constituted a vast system for capturing and transporting water by gravity. The king D. João V built the Aqueduct originating from the Águas Livres source, in Belas, Sintra.

In total, the Águas Livres Aqueduct system, both inside and outside Lisbon, reached around 58 km in length in the mid-19th century. Its waters are not being used for human consumption since the 1960s, 20th century. Classified as a National Monument since 1910 it’s considered a remarkable work of hydraulic engineering. It survived unscathed to the Great Earthquake of 1755.

However, the Aqueduct hides a tragic story. During the 19th century, a thief called Diogo Alves used to assault the people who passed through the aqueduct. Then, he threw them to the ground, enjoying watching them falling. Sentenced to the death penalty, his head remains preserved in formaldehyde.

Don’t miss this amazing guided visit and check out our upcoming events on the website.