Bridge at Kemer

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Coordinates: 36 ° 41 ′ 36 ″  N , 29 ° 21 ′ 43 ″  E

Bridge at Kemer
Bridge at Kemer
Third arch of the Kemer Bridge. The hollow chamber, the circular holes and the bridge eye can also be seen (see text).
Crossing of Xanthos ( Koca Çayı )
place Lycia ( Turkey )
overall length Min. 500 m
width 4.5 m
construction time Probably 3rd century AD
Status West bridge approach preserved
Bridge at Kemer (Turkey)
Bridge at Kemer

The bridge at Kemer was a Roman bridge over the Xanthos River (today's Eşen Çayı ) in Lycia in what is now south-western Turkey . The remains of the structure are located 4 km upstream from the village of Kemer at a point where the gravel-covered Xanthos river valley reaches a width of 500 m. Only a 29 m long and 4.5 m wide section of the structure is left, which is located on the right bank of the river outside the flood zone and served as a driveway for the actual river bridge (status 1978). In terms of architectural history, the bridge is significant despite being largely destroyed by its segment arches and hollow chambers.


Some structural features that were unusual for the time can still be seen on the remains of the bridge. The ramp that has been preserved has three arches with a span of 4 to 4.45 m, two of the arches with a top height of only one meter have a very flat profile. Such segmental arches are only known from a limited number of Roman bridges and only found general use in late medieval bridge construction with the Ponte Vecchio . The third arch, on the other hand, has the classic Roman semicircular shape, in which the ratio of span to crown height is 2 to 1.

The bridge arches were built up with locally cut limestone blocks and a mortar connection, while the bridge body consists of cast mortar masonry with rubble stones, which is now exposed in many places on the heavily damaged outer cladding. The mortar consists of hard lime mixed with fine gravel. The paving of the road has completely disappeared; However, the even slope of the bridge ramp suggests that the ancient pavement of today's surface lay directly on it.

Another special feature of the Kemer Bridge in addition to its arch construction is the hollow chamber above the yoke of the third arch. Here, the 2 m high bridge between the apex of the arch and the roadway was not solidly bricked, but inside a vaulted cavity 3.5 m in length, 3 , 2 m wide and 1.5 m high. The purpose of the cavity construction was to reduce the weight on the arch and to save building material. A second, smaller inner chamber was placed next to it in the upper area of ​​the third pillar. Similar hollow chamber systems were found in at least three other Roman bridges in Asia Minor (the Makestos Bridge , the White Bridge and, in particular, the Aisepos Bridge ).

Circular canals with a diameter of about 26 cm, which run through the length and width of the bridge, are interpreted as hollow forms of round timbers of the Roman building and teaching scaffolding . The fourth pillar, which is closest to the river bed, has a small bridge eye that acted as a water passage. Although the bridge ramp that remained standing does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the type and number of arched openings of the actual bridge over the river, the ancient construction must have been a very impressive engineering structure given the 500 m width of the river bed and a current height of around 8 m above the alluvial debris .

An example of a preserved segment arch bridge in Lycia is the 28-arch bridge near Limyra , which was also examined by Wolfgang Wurster and Joachim Ganzert.


A possible starting point for dating the Kemer Bridge is the existence of a Roman road link , which is documented in the area at the beginning of the 3rd century AD. According to this, the bridge could have been part of a path from Kadyanda ( Üzümlü ) coming from the east, which led down above the bridge into the Xanthostal. It is possible that the Kemer Bridge was connected to the pass path to Oinoanda .


See also


Web links

Commons : Bridge at Kemer  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wurster, Wolfgang & Ganzert, Joachim, pp. 304, 307
  2. ^ Wurster, Wolfgang & Ganzert, Joachim, pp. 304, 306
  3. a b c d e f Wurster, Ganzert, p. 306
  4. ^ O'Connor, Colin, p. 126
  5. ^ Wurster, Wolfgang & Ganzert, Joachim, p. 305, fig. 19
  6. ^ Wurster, Wolfgang & Ganzert, Joachim, p. 306, note 31
  7. a b c d Wurster, Wolfgang & Ganzert, Joachim, p. 307
  8. a b Wurster, Wolfgang & Ganzert, Joachim, p. 304