Although many know it as the Arc de Triumph, the Gate of the Bridge in Cordoba is one of the most visited monuments because of its preponderant place in the historical center, between the access to the Mosque and the Roman Bridge.
After its last remodeling, the Puerta del Puente has an exhibition area inside where you can learn more about its history. In addition, you can climb to its terrace where you can see some areas of the Mosque and the Bridge from a better perspective.
With the last remodeling an exhibition hall has been included in the Arc de Triomphe. Going up a stairs we reach this room. Its main mission is to show the public that it visits the different images and engravings related to this monument. A graphic way of knowing how it has been transformed in recent years. After the small exhibition we can access the terrace.
Origins of the Gate of the Bridge
It is known that it already existed in Roman times, and that very possibly it had in its upper part the statue of a Roman God. In fact, it is speculated that it was the Goddess Venus. Over the centuries and the entry into the Middle Ages, the Gate of the Bridge in Cordoba lost its religious and ritual value, although it retained its importance in the architecture and physiognomy of the city.
And it is that like the rest of medieval cities, Cordoba was fortified to maintain the safety of its citizens in a turbulent world. Bab-al-Qantara was the name that it received during the period of Muslim domination, when it became the main place of access to the city of merchants, travelers and farmers. And it is that the medina and the souk, that is to say, the commercial zone where the sale of foods and equipment were made, was located around the Mosque. Up there, walking through the current old town and the Jewish quarter, the citizens of Cordoba came to buy the products they needed in their daily lives.
Functions of the Arc de Triumph in the past
But for a merchant to be able to introduce his merchandise into the city of Caliph, he had to pass through the only bridge on foot, the one currently known as Roman, and enter through the Gate of the Bridge. There the tax collector waited for him, who checked the products he intended to introduce in the city for sale and calculated the cost in taxes he had to pay. That is to say, the merchant played it, since regardless of whether he managed to sell them or not, he had to pay what was already called the toll in Christian times.
Although it maintained its commercial function, the Gate of the Bridge underwent important changes in its physiognomy from the thirteenth century in which Christians entered until the nineteenth century, when it gradually became a monument that, in the long run, is one of the most visited, admired, painted and photographed by tourists who visit Cordoba.
Restoration of the monument
Already in the first decades of the 20th century the Arc of Triunph was completely renovated, adapting it to the transformations that the rest of the city had experienced at the end of the 19th century. In the middle of the industrial era it was not necessary to have a walled city. The wall that surrounded the historic center was disappearing, except for some remains that are still preserved, and this door was exempt, that is, separated from its original wall.
Then both its pillars and the arch that completes it were completely renovated. The traveler who contemplates it at the moment will see how in its left pillar there is a statue (or better said relief) of a woman sitting on the body of a man. On the right, another relief represents a woman carrying a child in her arms. The way of interpreting these reliefs is diverse, but many indicate that they are an allegory of death and life and the role of women as spouses and mothers.