Interview to Dr.Miquel Vives and Prof. Anndrés Martínez

Here you can listen an audio by two retired teachers from our highschool (Pompeu Fabra) about Devil's Bridge from an historical point of view and a traditional point of view

Dr.Vives is an historian and it was Head of the departament of history and our xchool and also principal in the 1990's.


Francisco Pérez 248 · Pont del Diable (Martorell)

-What is the origin of the bridge and why did they make it here?

-The bridge is of Roman origin was built in the 10th century BC and was on top of a Roman road called the Via Augusta. It had different names and it reached from Rome to Cádiz.

It had a long 130 m long road and It was practically horizontal And it surely had three arches above the riverbed.

From Roman times almost nothing is preserved, only the ends of the bridge made with large ashlars that have inscriptions of the people who built it and there is an honorific triumphal arch that surely more than triumphal was the one that marked limits located on the left bank.

The bridge was built at a time that we do not know, we are totally unaware of, and Martorell It is a village documented in 1033. It was raised as a bridgehead to defend that bridge that was the one that defended Barcelona from the attacks of the Andalusians.

To defend at the same time, there was Rosana's castle at the top of the neighboring mountain, which we now know as the Molinet castle.

-And when they remade it to the shape it currently has?

-Well then, between the years 1283 and 1295 answer that this is when the bridge was rebuilt in the way it used to be, under the direction of Bernat Selles. It had two arches in the shape of a pointed arch. One was bigger and the other was smaller, and since it was narrower and had a lot of inclination, although not as much as now It was only suitable for transport on mules.

When the cars began to circulate, it was from the 15th century that instead of going over the bridge, they passed by the boat that was in Sant Andreu de la Barca.

The bridge has been restored twice one in the 18th century, Juan Martín Cerdeño's military army, since the bridge was badly damaged. It was just an act of consolidation.

And the second reconstruction was in 1963 under the direction of the architect Camilo Pallas, he rebuilt the entire central arch that had been blown up in January 1939 when the republican army was in retreat

-Why do they call it the Devil's Bridge?

-Because there is a legend of an old woman who had to cross to the other side of the river every day and offered anything to the devil to build her a bridge. Immediately the devil appeared and they made a deal with which the devil would build the bridge but in exchange he would take the soul of the first living being that passed. The old woman deceived him by making a cat pass so the devil took the soul of the cat and not that of any person.

A very common legend there are many sources of the devil it is calculated that only in Catalonia there can be about fifty.

Throughout the area of the Pyrenees, French, the Alps, the entire territory of what was the ancient Roman Empire, there are thousands of bridges that have similar legends.

-And what is the point of this legend?

-There are many architectural and technical works that throughout the Middle Ages the origin is forgotten, it seems that it costs a lot to do. People did not know how to do them, so attributing it to the Romans cost a bit and the reason is that Christianity was considered better than the Romans.

So if there was an urge that the Romans had made and they didn't know how to do it, it created a problem. It was very easy to turn to legend and say that the bridge was not built by them but by the devil.

So it was to look good and to maintain that supposed superiority before them.

The problem was that they admitted that the bridge was made by the devil, then there was a moral problem because how was it that you used a work made by him.

It was necessary to earn the right to use it by deceiving the devil, you had been smarter than the lil and that gave you the right to use it. But the legends always say that the devil's urge is usable but not completely finished, because a stone is missing or because they made a rooster crow before the sun rose and had deceived the devil in this other way, in any case it is usable.

Now even a cathedral that has a legend that it was built by the devil. The Polish Cathedral, the facade that was not completed until the 19th century was said to have never been completed because it was a work of the devil. So there are many bridges but there are all kinds of buildings that have a similar legend.

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