The Roman Bridge of Salamanca dates from the 1st century AD, when Salamanca was known by its Latin name of Helmantica. Since then, it has joined both banks of the River Tormes. In fact, even today you can see some epigraphic inscriptions on the stones of the bridge that indicate the year 89, as the date of its construction. However, it is also true that this important infrastructure has undergone various changes throughout history, especially in the 17th century. And it must also be taken into account that until the 19th century it was the only passage over the river, which has undoubtedly led to continuous wear and tear over the centuries.
Roman Bridge of Salamanca
In total, the bridge spans 180 meters over 26 arches over the riverbed, of which 15 are the original ones, which are large semicircular arches, with the ashlars of the voussoirs worked in a elegant padding.
We could say that there are two sections, separated by a central tower, thus differentiating between the Roman work and the later one, called the old bridge and the Hispanic bridge. And not only are there variations in shape between the two, but even the stone is from different quarries.
At the time it was a work of engineering of enormous value in Roman Hispania, since three vital paths converged here. It was about the roads that linked EmeritaAugusta, today's Mérida to the south, with César Augusta, that is Zaragoza in the east, and Arturica Augusta, or what is the same, Astorga the northernmost city of the Vía de la Plata.
In short, the Roman Bridge is one of the most outstanding monuments in Salamanca, a place that has jewels declared World Heritage by UNESCOsuch as the Plaza Mayor, its cathedrals or the Casa de las Conchas, not to mention the buildings of the oldest University in Spain.
But in addition to that charm and monumental value, the Roman Bridge has an added value of a literary nature. And it is that one of its entrances takes place one of the most famous chapters of the picaresque novel in Spanish, the Lazarillo de Tormes. And a small monument reminds him of it.