For years, historians, archaelogists, architects, geologists and engineers have searched the archives, researched the Rhône river and its banks, calculated the river flow, the strength of old constructions and modeled three-dimensional structures of the bridge of Avignon in Southern France.
The Bridge of Avignon – in France, known as Pont Saint Bénezet or Le Pont d’Avignon – is one of the most famous historical bridges in the world. It was originally constructed in the 12th century. The bridge – over 900 meters / 980 yards long – led across river Rhône. After the construction, however, strong currents and spates of Rhône destroyed the bridge. It was re-built a few times until in the 17th century people gave up, letting the river flow freely.
The remaining part of the bridge on the Avignon side of the river can be visited today, and it is a popular sight in southern France.
The mystery the researchers are trying to solve is how the bridge was built in the 12th century. Modern technology, like drones, measurement devices, computers and 3D modeling applications are exploited by researchers who have managed to reconstruct the bridge’s 3D model. One thing that you can’t see if you visit the site is that the bridge didn’t cross the river directly, but it was curved.
View the video below (in French, but images tell the story) that shows how researchers are trying to solve the secret, and how the bridge stood in the river in the Middle Ages.
Via Le Monde.
Avignon is an exciting destination to visit – not only because of the bridge but because the entire town is a wonderful place to explore by foot. It is full of fascinating history and old architecture. Here are a few photos of Avignon.
A travel guide to southern France is helpful if you are planning to visit the region.