Stone footbridges in Greece

Medium: conference paper
Language(s): en 
Conference: Footbridge 2005 (Second International Congress), Venezia, 06-08 December 2005
Published in:
Year: 2005
Abstract: The aim of the presentation is to demonstrate the close relation among the construction and the technology, the use of local materials and architecture. Architecture has always had throughout history a local character. As a result of the intricate relief structure of the soil, hundreds of stone arcuated foot-bridges were built throughout Greek history, according to traditional methods and materials. This occurred until about the midwar period, when the generalized use of steel and reinforced concrete, later on, was introduced for the construction of bridges that would receive vehicles as well. We present some examples of characteristic foot-bridges which endured time, in the region of Epirus, in western Greece, a region which strongly influenced and was also influenced by the Roman tradition. The Roman Era brings along the culmination of the ancient bridge construction techniques, a time when the tracing of the “Egnatia Odos” was completed. Τhese somehow primitive, though heavy and steady, constructions were appropriate for small shallow streams and rivers with limited water flow. In the late 19th century and especially in the first half of the 20th century, a great number of stone foot-bridges were built in Greece following the most advanced technology of the segmental arch, which is smaller in size than a semi-circular arch and gives the impression of an elliptic arch. In our effort to perceive the know-how of the “bridge builders” of that time, we dealt with the analysis of the static knowledge referring to the stone arcuated constructions. There is no doubt that bridges constitute the most difficult case among stone constructions, because of the openings to be spanned, the increased loads to be withstood and the existing foundation conditions.

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