Ponte Maria Pia, Porto

4.6
#173 of 554 in Things to do in Porto
The Maria Pia Bridge is a railway bridge built in 1877, and attributed to Gustave Eiffel, situated over the Portuguese northern municipalities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.Part of the Linha Norte system of the national railway, the wrought iron, double-hinged, crescent arch 353m spanned connected 60m over the Douro River. At the time of its construction, it was the longest single-arch span in the world; today, it is no longer used for rail transport and was replaced by a modern structure in 1991. It is often confused with the D. Luís Bridge, which was built nine years later and located 1km to the west, but resembles the structure, albeit with two decks.HistoryAt the end of the 18th century, the use of cast iron began to replace laminated steel on rail bridges, making it essential for the expansion of the rail network. In addition to permitting creative uses, due to its characteristics and new materials, the materials allowed the ability to overcome difficult terrains. Although developments in England were pioneering, it was the bridge conceived by Gustave Eiffel for the Bordeaux in 1860, designed by La Passerelle, that became the model of various projects. Similar to other European bridges, the development of modern bridges in Portugal accompanied the growth of transport networks, during the Fontist politics of the middle of the 18th century Regeneration period. The first metallic bridge in Portugal, the Ponte Pênsil, was constructed over the Douro, due to the commercial activities of British merchants between the two riverbanks. Meanwhile the extension of the Linha Norte to Devezas did not support the commercial interests of Porto and Gaia.
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  • The Maria Pia Bridge is an arched bridge, which crosses the Douro River on the edge of the city of Porto; it was dedicated to the Queen of Portugal Maria Pia of Savoy, who gave it its name. It seems that the famous Gustave Eiffel has also contributed to his project. The bridge was inaugurated in 1877, when it was the longest arched bridge in the world (about 350 meters long, at a height of 60 m), and later served as a model for the construction of the most famous Dom Luis I bridge. The bridge was used to connect Porto to Lisbon by rail until 1991, when the line was deactivated. We could see it from below, practically from the surface of the river water, during a cruise on the Douro to discover the bridges of Porto.
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  • Externally similar to the famous bridge Ponte de Don Luis, and also, it should be noted connects Porto with the suburb of Villa Nova di Gaia, but only this bridge has only one tier and was originally purely railway. The bridge was designed by Eiffel himself and named after the wife of King Don Louis I - Maria Pia Savoy, that is, in the late 19th grade, each of the crowned spouses was in Porto on their bridge. But by the end of the twentieth century the bridge was clearly obsolete technically, in 1991 a truly modern railway bridge of St. John was built next to it, and the Ponte Maria Pia was closed for a long restoration, which lasts to this day. The bridge itself looks quite harmonious - it can be well seen when walking on the river on a boat.
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  • Fabulous place
  • Nice view
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