Galermi Aqueduct in Syracuse

Galermi Aqueduct in Syracuse

Jerome Bon - CC2.0


 Viale Giulio Emanuele Rizzo, 34 - Siracusa (SR)

The Greek Galermi Aqueduct is one of the most impressive hydraulic engineering works in the Mediterranean .
At a time when the expansion of the city of Syracuse was also spreading outside the island of Ortigia to affect the Acradina, Neapolis and Epipoli districts, it was necessary to transport and convey water through the aqueducts. Thus it was that the Greeks created a wonderful network of aqueducts longer than 100 km, some of which are still functioning today after 2500 years of service.
The Greek aqueduct was built in 480 BC. by the Carthaginian slaves at the behest of the Syracusan tyrant Gelone and its still functioning demonstrates the genius, intelligence and sagacity of its ancient creators. Its construction was certainly difficult, both for the need to maintain a constant slope and for overcoming the problems linked to the territory: ravines and valleys. The excavation took place with the fire technique, which softened the rock allowing a better friability. During the progress, inspection wells were built with stairs carved out of the rock itself. The wells served not only as an access route, but as a way to unload the waste material and, once in service, allowed the identification of plugs or collapses through the escape of water.
The aqueduct captures a part of the waters of the Calcinara stream, in north Pantalica, and takes them to the Greek theater of Syracuse along a distance of 30 km. It is still possible today to hear the roar of the water above the auditorium of the Greek Theater.
Inside the aqueduct of considerable interest is the Galleria Tremilia : about 815 m long and carved into the living rock, like most of the ancient aqueducts; the tunnel is built in a double order: a lower tunnel, in which the water flows, and an upper one that serves for ventilation and maintenance and was used by the Greeks as a filtering tunnel, or as a channel for the adduction of latent waters that flow into the contact with impermeable volcanic soils.
Due to the importance, usefulness and grandeur of the work, the surface crossed by the Galermi is protected by a 5.5 m wide strip. In the last four kilometers it is possible to recognize the wells , even if not marked by any tourist sign. The canal runs along Viale Epipoli, Via Enrico Di Luciano, Via dell'Acquedotto and Via Luigi Mauceri, to reach the terrace of the Greek Theater. Unfortunately the area has not been enhanced.

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