Aqueduto das Águas Livres

The Aqueduto das Águas Livres is an important engineering work from the 18th century, built to supply water to the city of Lisbon and its surrounding areas.

Its most impressive section is the one that crosses over the valley of Alcântara, but, all together, it covers a total length of 14 kilometres from its main source in Caneças to its end at the reservoir of Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras. Together with other secondary distribution aqueducts, it formed a water supply network for the city of more than 59 kilometres.

Building work began in 1748, during the reign of Dom João V, in keeping with a project designed by António Cannevari, Manuel da Maia and Carlos Mardel. The section that spans the valley of Alcântara consists of 35 arches, including the world’s highest stone arch, 65 metres high and 32 metres wide.

The aqueduct was only completely deactivated as late as 1973 and thereafter opened to the public in 1986. Nowadays, the Water Museum, to which it belongs, organises visits to the inside of the aqueduct. The reservoir of Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras is another of the museum’s sections, organising cultural events and temporary exhibitions.

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