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Archaeological Sites of Andalucia

Tempul-Gades Aqueduct

Archaeological Sites of Andalucia

Tempul-Gades Aqueduct

Considered to be one of the most important infrastructures of Hispania, the Tempul-Gades Aqueduct, thus called because it started in an area known as Tempul and finished in Gades (Cadiz), was used to supply water to this city during Roman times.

During the Roman supremacy the terrestrial communications from Gades to the rest of the Iberian Peninsula were improved with the construction of the Suanzo Bridge, of Phoenician origin, and the water supply was also improved. In order to do this, they built the aqueduct Tempul-Gades, which ran between the Sierra de la Cabra, in the municipal area of Jerez de la Frontera, and the city of Cadiz, where they stored the transported water to be distributed through different public fountains.

This new system meant a structural change for the city because it replaced the Phoenician system of cisterns and established new relationships with the surrounding territory. Along more than sixty kilometres of aqueduct, the water runs in the open as well as underground. The underground stretches were constructed with pipes made of ashlar stones and in the exterior the water flowed on arches and pillars.

For its construction they took advantage of local materials such as lime and bricks, mortar or “Ostionera” stones, a very porous sedementary rock formed by sea shells and stones eroded by the sea which is very common in buildings of the villages around the bay of Cadiz.

But with the Roman decadence the aqueduct desappeared and the city had to resort to using the Phoenician cistern system which was in use up until the second half of the 19th century. At present, the visible remains of this old canalization are scarce, but worthy of note is the stretch of pipe excavated on the beach of Cortadura in 1982, which is on display in the Asdrubal square in Cadiz. Also, at the end of the road of Pinar de los Franceses, by the municipal boundaries of Chiclana de la Frontera and Puerto Real, we can see the only “Ostionera” stone pillar of the aqueduct that is still standing.

Tempul: Area that previously belonged to the municipality of Jerez de la Frontera ant that today is located in the municipality of San José del Valle.

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