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Interview to Dr.Miquel Víves an Prof. Andrés Martínez

Here you can listen an audio by two retired teachers from our high school(Pompeu Fabra) about Devil's Bridge from an historical point of view and a traditional point of view.

Dr.Vives is an historian and it was head of the departament of history at our high school and also principal in the 1990's. Prof.Martínez he was a head of the classics lenguages departament

Francisco Pérez 248 · Pont del Diable (Martorell)

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Here you can listen an audio by two retired teachers from our high school(Pompeu Fabra) about Devil's Bridge from an historical point of view and a traditional point of view.

What is the origin of the bridge and why did they build it here?

The bridge is of Roman origin and was built around the year 10 BC It was on a Roman road called the Via Augusta which had different names, reaching from Rome to Cadiz. It was 130 meters long and a very wide road was almost horizontal and probably 3 arches over the riverbed. Of the Roman period almost nothing is preserved only the stirrups of the bridge made with large ashlars that have inscriptions of the legions that built it and there is an honorary triumphal arch, which probably more than triumphant marked boundaries, located on the left sea is later. The bridge was destroyed at a time we do not know and Martorell, a town documented in 1033, was built mainly as a bridgehead to defend this bridge, which defended Barcelona from attacks from Al-Andalus. At the same time, to defend this bridgehead, Rosanes Castle stood at the top of a hill

And when did they redo it with the shape it currently has?

Between the years 1283 and 1295 it is recorded that the bridge was rebuilt under the direction of Bernat Sellés which had two pointed arches, one larger and the other smaller and as it was narrower and had strength tilt, was only suitable for mule transport. The bridge is restored at least twice once in the 18th century, by the military engineer Juan Martín Serdeño and the second in 1963 under the direction of the architect Camil Pallàs, who again made the entire central arch that was blown up when the Republican army was retreating.

Why is it called Devil's Bridge?

A legend tells that an old woman had problems crossing a river and that she desperately offered anything to the devil in exchange for a bridge. The devil appeared immediately and they made a pact, the soul of the first creature to cross the bridge would be the price of the work. Then the old woman tricked him into passing a cat so the devil had done the work but the old woman was saved. It is a type of legend that is very common there are many Devil's Bridges, it is estimated that in Catalonia there may be 11, in the Pyrenees or the Valcans to France there may be hundreds but thousands of bridges that have legends similar.

And what is the meaning of this legend?

There are many technical architectural works that throughout the Middle Ages, when the origin is forgotten it seems that if it costs a lot to do people did not know how to do it then attributing them to the Romans cost a bit and the reason is that Christianity claimed to be superior to the Romans, then if there was a work that the Romans had done and they did not know the thing created a problem. Then it was very easy to resort to the legend that in reality this work had not been done by the Romans but the devil, then it was a matter of looking good while maintaining this supposed superiority. The problem is that if you admitted that the devil was the perpetrator then there was a moral problem, such as using a work done by the devil, it was necessary to earn the right to use it by deceiving the devil, you had to be more cunning than the devil and that gave you the right to use a play. On the other hand, legends always say that the work is often not completely finished, it is usable but it is not finished, a stone is missing due to a deception. There are even cathedrals that have a legend that has been built by a devil. There are many bridges but all kinds of buildings that have a similar legend.