Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Bridges

Antioch in ancient times had seven bridges that are documented. Two of these crossed the Orontes to the western bank, these were the bridge at the Bridge Gate and the bridge that connected the Island near the Imperial Palace to the west bank at the Porta Tauriana. Then there were five bridges that connected the Island to the main portion of the city across the branch of the Orontes that ran through the city proper. These can be seen on the map on the posting relating to the Imperial Palace. The Vatican manuscript translated by Guidi and elaborated upon by Margoulioth makes reference to the Fish Bridge. To quote the text:

"And a Temple was built to Saturn to the east of the Fish Bridge and every year there is a three days' feast to him, and near this is a bath into which they entered gratis during the feast."

Presumably the Fish Bridge is one of the five that connect the Island to the rest of the city.

Remnants of one of these five smaller bridges (at the Dog Gate) still exists according to reports from the 1930's excavations.

The main bridge at the bridge gate survived until the 1960s when it was barbarously demolished to make way for traffic improvements. It is shown above in the early twentieth century photo. It was so solid that it had survived from Roman times in excellent condition. However, it also was so massive that it may have contributed to the flooding from which the town regularly suffered.

Below we have an earlier etching from 1835. This shows the bridge with structures built along it. They appear somewhat ruined and were later demolished. Their damaged state may be a result of the earthquake of 1822.

No comments: