Venetian Bridges

The Venetian Bridges that decorate the landscape of Cyprus are a monument to their 500 year old medieval rule.

The Venetians ruled Cyprus for most of the 16th century. During this time they exported lots of minerals from the mountains. To help this process, Camel trails were created from the mountains to the ports. To assist the trains on their route, numerous bridges were constructed. It is interesting to observe that a lot of these bridges are hump-backed. This is so the camels could walk over them in winter months. In summer, when the rivers ran dry, the camels could walk along the riverbed itself. The hump back would allow the camels to walk under the bridge. You can see this design at Kelefos and Roudia, the most famous of the bridges. Compare this to Elia Bridge, which is more or less flat. This is because Elia spans a deeper gorge, so there is no need to add the hump.
Some bridges, notably Roudia, have been renovated in the past. More recently, Skarfos Bridge received a much-needed facelift. It now looks a lot more impressive. If you want to see a Venetian Bridge, and are in the Paphos area, then Skarfos is the easiest one to visit, as it is not far from the B7 that goes from Paphos to Polis. In Paphos Forest, where the more well-known bridges are located, Kelefos is probably the easiest to get to, and certainly the most popular with the tourists.

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