Recife’s Ponte Velha

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Recife’s Ponte Velha (Old Bridge) connects the neighborhoods of Boa Vista with São José, and thus Rua Velha to Travessa Cais da Detenção. The two neighborhoods were first brought together by Count Maurício de Nassau, in 1643, with a bridge named Ponte da Boa Vista, made entirely of wood and only taking seven weeks to build. In the 18th century, however, the Boa Vista bridge was taken down and rebuilt nearby (where it can still be found today).

Upon the installation of basic sanitation services in Recife, between 1909 and 1918, the Ponte Velha was (re)built, where the original Boa Vista bridge was, and this allowed for the passage of water and sewage pipes underneath as well as the passage of cars above.

Inaugurated on March 6, 1921, it’s official name, Ponte 6 de Março, is in honor of the day the Pernambucan Revolution started. Recife residents still refer to the bridge as Ponte Velha, despite both its official name and a plaque at the end of the bridge that says Ponte Nova (New Bridge).

Despite its confusing history and naming schemes, the cast-iron bridge is considered by many residents to be the most beautiful of the city’s bridges. You can see its location here, in the top left.

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