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Aguas Livres Aqueduct

Aguas Livres Aqueduct

Drinking water for Lisbon

A 941-meter-long aqueduct stretches across the Alcântara Valley in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

Until three centuries ago, drinking water was a scarce resource in Lisbon. That is why the Portuguese King John V ordered the construction of a kilometer-long network of canals and water pipes between Lisbon and the sources of Caneças, more than ten kilometers away.

To bridge the Alcântara valley, the Italian architect Antonio Canevari designed the 'Aqueduct of Aguas Livres,' a gigantic construction resting on 35 Gothic arches that reach 65 meters above the ground. Its construction started in 1731.


From 1748 onwards, the first drinking water seeped into Lisbon via the aqueduct, surviving a major earthquake in Lisbon seven years later. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami and fire razed the city to the ground. But the aqueduct showed no crack.

Today, there is no more water flowing through. The aqueduct was decommissioned in 1968, and today, it has become a tourist attraction.

Water Museum

The water from the aqueduct flowed into a reservoir, Mãe d'Água, which can hold 5,500 m³ of water. Today, the covered basin houses the Museu da Água Water Museum. You can look at the aqueducts inside and walk around the reservoir.

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