The Bridge of Xirokambi

   Fifteen kilometers south of Sparti and very close to the mountain Taygetos it is located the town of Xirokambi. At the exit of the gorge Anakolo, where the river Erasinos flows, a visitor can be impressed by the bridge and its age. The bridge, which dates back 2000 years ago, connects the two banks of the river. Its structure makes it unique. It is the only active ancient bridge in Greece and in Europe as well. The bridge of Xirokambi dates back to the late Hellenistic Period.

   According to the local tradition, there are three myths about the bridge. The first myth states that the bridge was passed by Paris and Helen in order to sail to Troy. The second one states that Pyrros, the son of Achilles, passed the bridge in order to visit Sparta. His purpose was to marry Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus and Helen. The third myth states that Telemachus, directed to Sparta, crossed this bridge in order to ask Menelaus about his father, Odysseus.

   The prehistoric archaeologist Christos Tsountas believed that Aristotle passed by this road after crossing the mountain Taygetos from a southern passage. On May 13th 1834 the archaeologist Ludwig Russ saw the bridge when he escorted the successor of Bavaria and the young queen Amalia.

   The blocks of stone were the main construction material of the foundations, and were carved. The semicircle of the arch has a 3.70-meter radius. The road width of the bridge is 3.15 meters. The road was used by the Spartans. At the same bridge there are two different styles. The first one is the style of the Hellenistic period and the second one is the style of the Roman architecture.

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