The bridge over the Ebro in Tudela
is a kind of anticipation of the interesting artistic heritage left in the city by Muslims, Jews, Mozarabs and Christians
. A walk over its 17 pointed arches will give you a great view of the city's skyline, over which the tower of the Cathedral of Santa María
The bridge was built in the Middle Ages but has undergone numerous renovations to resist the strong currents of the Ebro, the main river of Navarre
. It irrigates fertile banks where the market gardens offset the arid land around and give their intense flavour to the dishes of the region.
The bridge over the Ebro is the first example of mediaeval civil architecture you will come across in Tudela, if you enter the city along the NA-134 road from Pamplona. It has 17 pointed arches in its 360 metres length and provides one of the best views of the capital of La Ribera, in the south of Navarre. Its strategic importance was so great that Tudela adopted it as the symbol and coat of arms of the city.
Its construction is closely linked to the history and origins of Tudela. The Arabs who, once they found a settlement to their taste, founded the city in the 11th century thanks to its fertile land and strategic position. Later on, with the aim of controlling movements from one side of the river to the other, they built the bridge, a key factor in stopping invading forces and for facilitating the movement of goods and farmers.
Initially, the bridge over the Ebro had three watchtowers, one at each end and another taller tower in the centre. These towers disappeared in the 19th century. Nowadays you will find two rows of street lights that replaced the emblematic towers.
A number of renovations have taken place as a result of wars, floods or just the passing of time. The most extensive renovation took place in 1985, when the pillars were strengthened and the road widened.
A walk over the bridge allows you to imagine the history of this city, which was under Arab control for 300 years. Indeed, Arabs, Christians and Jews lived here in peaceful co-existence during this period.
On the other side of the bridge there is an interesting cultural heritage: the Romanesque church of La Magdalena, the Cathedral of Tudela, the Dean's Palace and the Palace of the Marquises of San Adrián, among others. You will also discover excellent cuisine based on the products from the fertile market gardens of Tudela ('La Mejana'). Make sure you try menestra de verduras (a kind of vegetable stew).