Pont d'Ael: a Roman engineering feat

Pondel - Pond'ael
Pondel - Pond'ael

Pont d'Aël is a Roman aqueduct bridge in the village of the same name, in the comune of Aymavilles, in Aosta Valley, Italy. The bridge, constructed in 3 BC, carried water for the agricultural lands of the newly founded colony Augusta Prætoria Salassorum (today: Aosta) across a side valley, 66 m above the bottom.The monument had a double function of bridge and acqueduct and was consequently built on two different levels: a drain for canalizing water in the upper part and a covered passageway of about 1 meter width in the lower section, allowing the transit of men and animals. An inscription on the northern front attributes the building’s construction at the year 3 B.C., to the private initiative of Caius Avillius Caimus, coming from Patavium (Padua): belonging to a well-off gens, he could invest in the mining activity for digging out the “bardiglio” marble, widely used in the erection of private and public buildings in the town of Aosta.

The acqueduct-bridge played therefore a fundamental role in the extraction and processing of the marble of the local quarries.

ITALY: One of the best preserved Forensic Cryptoporticus in the world.


This monument, which dates back to the Augustan era (25 B.C.), is the subject of much debate; its main purpose was to create a structure for containing and levelling the ground that must have been slightly sloping from north to south in that part of the town, creating a difference of between the holy area and the adjacent forensic plateau.

The cryptoporticus could also be interpreted as a noble structure, linked to the imperial cult and the self-celebration of local nobility, religious bodies or professional citizens. It is therefore fair to suppose that the cryptoporticus can be interpreted as areas with a specific political-liturgical function: a sort of midpoint connecting the holy (the holy
area and the relative temple buildings) and the profane (the public square).

As some medieval maps appear to document, the Cryptoporticus structures were still used in the following centuries, when they were transformed into cellars and became widely referred to as the “Marché des Romains”

A theatre built by the Romans and still used today.


The southern facade 22 metres high with its overlapping arches, the lower part of the semi-circle of steps that housed the spectators (cavea) and the foundations of the wall that acted as a backdrop (scaena) are still well visible. Some scholars have supposed that the theatre was covered by a stable roof. During the Middle Ages numerous constructions were loan against the theater’s walls, but were then demolished during the modern repair and restoration works.

During the summer months, there is a free "son et lumière" performance at the Roman theatre every Monday evening. Accompanied by music, multi-coloured lights are projected on the four-storeyed facade of the Roman building.

A castle on pillows.

On a steep hill near Wlen there is a 12 metres high tower which is a remnant of a castle, history of which goes as far back as the 11th century. It was built on the site of prior wood and earthen fortifications, and raised to castellan status by Bolesław Chrobry, king of Poland. The castle appeared for the first time in written documents in Pope Hadian I’s bull from 1155. Originally the castle was the residence of castellany, however the Piast dynasty used it also as a prison. Throughout years the caste changed its owners many times. After the regional division of Poland the castle became the property of the Piast line of Duchy of Świdnica. Among its owners there were also Henry I Brodaty and his wife Jadwiga, who became a saint and is the patron of Silesia; Duke of Świdnica-Jawor Bolko II Mały, a Louis XIII’s colonel, and numerous highwaymen who were a nuisance to local people. In the dungeons of Wlen Castle there were kept local criminals, but also a bishop of Wrocław and Henry IV Probus, Duke of Wrocław.

The castle was a witness of many wars, from Hussite wars, through Thirty Years’ War to the Second World War. Whereas the castle was not captured during the Hussite wars, in the Thirty Years’ War its luck ran out - in 1646 it was burnt on an imperial order of the marshal Montecuculi. Since then the castle has been falling into ruin, and never returned to its greatness.
The high tower and many fragments of the walls and fortifications have been preserved. The bastions, i.e. elements of the medieval defensive wall in the form of a tower, are well preserved and open to tourists. When the weather is good, we can admire the view of the Karkanosze Range, as well as a panorama of the Kaczawski Mountains (old volcanoes) and the Izerski Foothills.

The Wleń Castle is of great interest to geologists and people interested in geology. Visiting it gives you a great opportunity to see great changes that our planet undergoes. Today there are mountains here, but before…

The foundations of the castle are basalt rocks shaped in loaves and pillows. These forms are created when lava flows from a volcano under water and is instantly cooled. Basalt pillows in Wlen were created in eruption of underwater volcanoes, which means in early Paleozoic The Sudetes were bottom of a deep sea. In the sea there were islands and small continents. Millions years later they became a part of Europe, creating today’s Sudetes.

The medieval judicial table

This medieval stone monument is a memorial to the old legislation. It commemorates the fact that in the old days public trials took place out of doors. The judicial table along with 5 chairs, all carved of sandstone, has stood on the site since the times when Kochanów belonged to the Cistercians.
The table is almost 2 m long, 70 cm broad and 110 cm high. It is placed in Kochanów,
amongst trees, behind the mansion.
Lower Silesia Poland.

The Monument forms a dominant part of the national cultural landmark of the Czechoslovak Armed Corps built in 1949 based on the architectural draft of Ing. arch. J. Grus. The Monument with a ceremonial hall is 28 metres high. On its 20th anniversary of the Karpathian-Dukla operation a sculpture „Moaning“was settled within the area of the Monument. There are bronze boards settled on the colonnade leading up to the Monument where there are 1 256 killed soldiers names imprinted on – all being the members of the 1st Czechoslovak Armed Corps in the USSR. The memorial cemetery with its 565 graves of the 1st Czechoslovak Armed Corps killed in the Karpathian-Dukla operation represents a part of the Monument. There are busts of the Heroes of Dukla placed on the periphery of the cemetery. In 1961 the Monument was declared a national cultural landmark.
Hanusovce nad Toplou

The railway viaduct which soars above the small town of Hanušovce nad Topľou, east of Presov( Slovakia) , is among the longest in central Europe. Forty metres above the valley floor and describing a 390-metre-long curve, it is an impressive engineering achievement (a sister viaduct of similar proportions can be seen just outside the town). Beautiful constructions with a bent lower belt were set on pillars of different height copying the shape of the valley it bridges over. The tallest of pillars is 28 m and its height above the terrain is 40 metres. The viaduct was completely destroyed during the Second World War.
But this valuable technical monument was reconstructed and it serves again. Along with several similar bridge constructions it is part of the railway track between Kapušany and Vranov.
Iberian citadel of Calafell

Ciutadella Iberica de Calafell (Calafell Citadel) is an archaeological site which shows how the life of a community of the Iron Age was.There is an Iberian Citadel which used to be populated from the 6th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D.
Ullastret Iberian oppidum
The Iberian village of Puig de Sant Andreu d’Ullastret is the biggest in Catalonia, and is regarded as a real city. It was the Iberian tribe’s capital which the original settlers called indiketes. The first Iberian village of Ullastret dates back to the first half of the sixth century BC, and in the second half of this century it was fortified with a wall reinforced by seven big towers.During the first half of the 4th century BC, the town spread out and covered three times the area which was walled in. Town planning is typical of an oppidum. A fortified town constructed on a hill, with streets which adapt to the slopes and the irregular features of the terrain.The town covered a vast area the economic resources of which were exploited, particularly agriculture and livestock, as well as mines and quarries.
Empuries (Greek and Roman cities)

Empúries was founded on a small island at the mouth of the river Fluvià, in a region inhabited by the Indigites. This city came to be known as the Palaiapolis, the "old city" when, towards 550 BC, the inhabitants moved to the mainland, creating the Neapolis, the "new city". Situated as it was on the coastal commercial route between Massalia and Tartessos in the far south of Hispania, the city developed into a large economic and commercial centre as well as being the largest Greek colony in the Iberian Peninsula.After the conquest of Hispania by the Romans, Empúries remained as a colonia of Roman veterans, named Emporiae, established to control the region.
Tarragona Amphiteatre and Roman Walls, Unesco World Heritage site

The Roman city wall is known as the archaeological walk. It was built in the latter stages of the 3rd century B.C. and the beginning of the second century B.C. Of the original wall only the upper area section is still standing. It still retains several sections of wall and three towers: Cabiscol tower, Minerva tower and Archbishop tower. Minerva tower is the most typically Roman of all, while Archbishop tower was modified during Medieval times.
Cardona Castle

The Castle of Cardona is arguably the most important medieval fortress in the Principality of Catalonia. It is situated on a hill overlooking the river valley of the Cardener river.
The fortress was initially constructed by Wilfred the Hairy in 886. It is in both the Romanesque and Gothic styles. During the 14th century, the dukes of Cardona came from the most important family of the Crown of Aragon. This presumably increased the importance of the castle.
In 1714, even after a Bourbon siege destroyed a good part of the castle's walls, the garrison was one of the last to surrender to the Bourbon troops which supported Philip V. As the Bourbons and their heirs would go on to suppress Catalonian national identity, the fort has become significant to Catalonia nationalism.Today, the castle's main jewel is the minyona tower (from the 11th century) a tower which measures 15 metres in height and 10 metres in diameter. Additionally, there is the romanesque Church of Saint Vicenç de Cardona.
La Tossa de Montbui

The most famous mountain in Santa Margarida de Montbui is called La Tossa. It has an altitude of 650 m. La Tossa mountain belongs to Miralles-Queralt range.In this mountain there is a Romanesque chapel devoted to Virgin Mary and dating back to the 11th century. The Anoia river borders Santa Margarida de Montbui to the South and separates this municipality from Igualada.
Mur Castle

Strategically located in an imposing fortified complex that dominates the Conca de Tremp and embassament of Terradets and the wonderful landscape can be enjoyed regarding from its walls.

Raised on the rock, looking for the best views and drawing a triangular silhouette, we find the XI Century Castle. Arabic lands bordered the Castle, but its main function, it was both monitor the border with al-Andalus and monitor the territory and its people.
Manresana Tower

In the 10th century the county of Osona spread its dominion over the lands of Anoia and Segarra. The invasion of these lands was guarded by a network of watchtowers, the best conserved of which is La Manresana in Prats de Rei.
A castle was built around it, but all that remains is the foundations of the walls, one room and the tower, refurbished in the 12th century. With a height of 21 metres, it provided a sweeping panorama of the surroundings. For that reason it was chosen as an observation point by the pro-Hapsburg army in the battle they fought at Prats de Rei against the Bourbon forces in late 1711, during the War of the Spanish Succession.
Stone structures in Cap de Creus

Cap de Creus is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, with the exceptional beauty of the coastal areas providing a contrast with the interior areas, where often human action has had a lasting influence on the harmony and shaping of the landscape we can see today. It is important to mention the rich architectural heritage of the area, represented to perfection in the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, and the interest of the land and marine archaeological sites. The Cap de Creus peninsula is the easternmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Mediterranean side of the axial Pyrenees. It is a natural area of the first order, with its very particular geological make-up of structures and outcrops that make the area unique in the world, and fundamental to our understanding of the geological evolution of the oldest lands in Catalonia.

Barcelona The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Church of the Holy Family)

It is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain), designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a Unesco World Heritage site and in November 2010 Pope Benedict XVI consecrated and proclaimed it a basilica as distinct from a catherdal which must be the seat of a bishop.
Construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Noveau forms.