It is possible to follow the different stages of the urban planning of the Roman city through the strategies used for its water supply, as Ángel Ventura claims in Archaeological Guide of Córdoba, and that is exactly what we will try to doing the following lines.
The Republican time was characterized by the exploitation of the great richness of underground aquifers in the city, where the population was supplied through wells. With Augustus’s arrival, we mentioned in previous sections that a new process of building monuments started in the city, which also led to a great reinforcement of the hydraulic infrastructures.
At this time, the first aqueduct in Córdoba appeared, known back then as Aqua Augusta, and later, Aqua Vetus, or Valdepuentes nowadays. From the northwest of the mountains in Córdoba, next to Sierra Morena range, this exceptional aqueduct supplied the city with between 25,000 and 35,000 cubic metres of water a day, after going along almost 19 kms, most of them underground. Some very important remains have been preserved, such as the piece displayed in Arruzafilla Avenue, where we can see it was a vaulted pipe, made with opus caementicium covered with opus signinum, a mortar used to waterproof the cavity.
We know that in times of Emperor Tiberio, the duoviro Lucius Cornelius paid with his own money the expenses of the building of public fountains, which we know were decorated with bronze water dispensers with the shape of masks. There has been speculation, taking as a starting point the size of the aqueduct and Vitruvius’s texts, with the theory that there could have existed more than a hundred fountains in Córdoba, without mentioning the private supply to houses and public buildings along the 1st century AD.
This is a period of economic, social and political apogee in the city, which is reflected in a continuous urban growth, where buildings acquired a greater importance and monumental character. This led to the building of a second big aqueduct in the city, called Aqua Nuova Domitiana Augusta, erected in times of Emperor Domicianus (81-96 AD).
Unlike his predecessor, the new aqueduct brought water from the northeast of the mountains in Córdoba, and there are remains of up to four branches located in the vicinity of Pedroche Stream. Smaller than the one built in Augustus’s times, the Aqua Nova Domitiana Augusta was almost 14 kms long, and it is thought to have supplied the city with around 20,000 cubic metres of water a day, which, together with the 30,000 of the previous one, made Corduba one of the best water supplied cities in Roman Hispania.
If the needs of the city seemed to be covered with two aqueducts, we know of the existence of a third one built between the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. The reason for its building were the residential areas located outside the walls of the city, as well as different public buildings, among which we can mention the Palatial Complex of Maximianus Herculeus (Cercadilla), located a few metres from the remains. We do not know the name it originally received, due to the lack of epigraphic remains, but it is currently known as Aqueduct of the Bus Station, as this is where it has been located since it was opened in October 1998.
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