Gate of the Bridge
Roman Córdoba was a walled city, and one of its numerous entrances was located where the Gate of the Bridge is today. We do not have much information about this gate, except for the fact that there was a statue at its top, representing a Roman deity, probably protecting the city, which could have been Venus, Godess of Love.
As for the Arab domination, the situation was very different, as we know that it was the main entrance to the city, very close to the Caliphal Alcázar and the Aljama Mosque. On the other hand, we know it received several names, such as Bab al-Qantara (Gate of the Bridge), Bab al-Wadi (Gate of the River), Bab al-Sura (Gate of the Statue) or Bab al-Yazira (Gate of Algeciras).
We need to go back to the second half of the 16th century to know the first purpose of the works we see today, that is, a visit by Monarch Felipe II to our city. The first design was made by local artist Francisco Montalbán, but they did not fulfill the expectations of those who initially supported the project. There were several delays in the building, until in the year 1575, the third of the Hernán Ruiz led the works, whereas the real promoter of them was Chief Magistrate Francisco Zapata. ... [Read more...]
The Gate of the Bridge is made with blocks of sandstone. It is divided in three big sections, the central one with a lintelled opening where the voussoirs are clearly seen. On both sides of the lintel, there are two pairs of Doric columns with grooved shaft supported by the dressed base. Over them, an entablature goes along all the perimeter of the gate, and further up, we can see the frieze, with trigryphs and metopes without any decoration whatsoever, supporging a thin and delicate hanging cornice. On the smaller sides of the building, the grooved columns we mentioned earlier are substituted by elegant pilasters without any decoration.
As for its decoration, the central section has a circular pediment at the top, which is not finished, where we can highlight a relief representing two warriors wearing Dalmatic and Spanish breeches, and holding the crest of the Spanish Crown. Right below it, there is an inscription that reads: "During the mandate of Holy Catholic Majesty Felipe, our lord, Second with this name". The rest of the decoration can be seen on the intercolumns, where there are two reliefs representing, on one side, a woman sitting on a dead and beheaded man, who are thought to be Judith and Holofernes; and on the other one, a female character is represented with a baby in her arms.
The Gate of the Bridge experienced some works in times of Mayor Salvador Muñoz Pérez, during the first third of the 20th century, and it was turned into a free-standing building, that is, it was separated from the wall it belonged to, and it was transformed into a sort of triunfal arch. As Miguel Ángel Ortí Belmonte tells, this is a serious archaeological mistake, typical of the time when it was made. Another great mistake was to leave the gate in a lower lever after the works in Ronda de Isasa Street, parallel to the river. However, it has been planned to return at least this part of the road to its original height, that is, at the same level as the bridge.