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Bridge of Esmoriz

With a single round arch, slightly raised deck with guards but without cut-seas or buttresses, the Bridge of Esmoriz connects the banks of the river Ovil, in the old “couto de Ancede” [place with privileges]. Its configuration is regular, shapely carved with voussoirs [stones forming the arch], narrow and long. In the Memórias Paroquiais [Parish Memorandum] of 1758, it is mentioned along with five other bridges in the parish circuit. But the first reference, known so far, dates back to 1666, when mentioning certain confrontations regarding the properties of the manor of the house of Esmoriz. Indeed, this little Bridge stood in the centre of ecclesiastical and manorial interests: the slope of the left bank of the river Ovil, the house of Penalva, almost opposite the one, the house of Esmoriz, and, not far, the imposing Monastery of Ancede (Baião). The latter, even after its incorporation into the Dominican order, in the 16th century (belonging earlier to the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine), which centralized its administration in Lisbon, continued to polarize several interests, including business and export trade, which the monks were adept at maximizing quite well. Known its intervention in the arrangement and construction of the sidewalks, maybe they should be credited with building the Bridge of Esmoriz, an interesting example of vernacular engineering [traditional].

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