Roman Bridge over Albarregas Creek, Mérida
In addition to the large bridge over the Guadiana River, Merida has another Roman bridge over the small Albarregas River. It connects the El Barrio and Santa Elualia districts. At the time of its construction, it was behind the perdels of the city walls and led to the northern city gate, which is why it is sometimes called Puente de la puerta (bridge at the gate). Historians believe that the bridge was built in the 3rd-4th century AD.
From this bridge began the road leading to the colony of Asturica Augusta (now the city of Astorga in the province of Castile and Leon). This road is called the Via de la Plata (Silver Road) and some guides say that it led to the silver mines in northern Iberia. The road was undoubtedly of great commercial importance, but precious metal was never carried along it. And the name comes from the transformation of the Arabic word al-balat (paved road), which has come down to us from the era of the Moors who occupied the Iberian Peninsula in the early Middle Ages.
The bridge crosses a stream a hundred meters below the aqueduct of Los Milagros. In mid-March, the river was a small swamp. Perhaps there is a lot more water in some periods of the year.
The bridge is made of granite blocks, has a length of 145 meters and a width of 7 meters. The four main arches are about 5 meters wide, and the banks have two additional spillways 2 meters wide.
Improvement of the banks of the stream consists of concrete benches, on one of which two girls had fun playing cards.