We have sold our soul to the devil!: Devil’s bridge in Catalunya
We all have heard about “Devil’s bridge” at any point but, are we all talking about the same bridge? How many devil’s bridges are there in Catalunya? Have you ever heard their legend? Trying to answer all this questions we have come across a lot of routes crossing one bridge or another at any point.... View Article
We all have heard about “Devil’s bridge” at any point but, are we all talking about the same bridge? How many devil’s bridges are there in Catalunya? Have you ever heard their legend? Trying to answer all this questions we have come across a lot of routes crossing one bridge or another at any point.
Let’s start with the legend. If you have ever heard any of the existing legends, you will quickly realize that they all share the same story, changing some details, such as the name of the house, to make it more realistic. Tells the legend that once upon a time there was a maid that had to cross the river to fetch water from the other side. Tired of getting wet to her knees she said she would sell her soul to the devil for a bridge. The devil turned up and promised to build a bridge before dawn. The maid, seeing the bridge almost built, decided to explain her problem with her lady. They both woke up the cock who in its turn woke the whole cocks in the village. The devil, seeing that he hadn’t finished on time, threw the remaining stone and left for ever.
The final part of the legend varies depending on the village and depending how better or worse preserved the bridge is. There are also some international versions, with some differences, but built on the same main story.
The best known devil’s bridge in Catalunya is the one in Martorell. Located over the river Llobregat, between the towns of Martorell and Castellbisbal, is a bridge reconstructed in Gothic style, but dating from Roman times. There are plenty of routes starting from this area or crossing it during the itinerary. There is even an annual race known as the “Cursa del Diable“(Devil’s Race). From the Wikiloc website, you can download the track including part of this duathlon (the MTB track). There are also plenty of options to download the Catalan part of the Saint James’ Path that goes to Montserrat, crossing this bridge.
Another important and well known bridge, perfectly preserved is the one in Tarragona. It is also known as the “Aqüeducte de Ferreres” (Ferrere’s aqueduct) and it is only a small part of a huge Roman construction, built to bring water to the old city of Tarraco. One of the hugest aqueducts from that time, included in the Spanish Heritage Register and named World heritage by the UNESCO, as part of the archaeological ensemble of Tarraco. This Aqueduct is part of the Parque eco-histórico del Pont del Diable, where there are some guided tours and from you can even download an audio guide. From the website Turisme de Tarragona, we can also download a guide of the Roman Route where we will find all the information needed to discover this and some other monuments in town and also an audio guide. You can also download the track from one of the annual races organized in the area.
Finally, we have to include in our list one of the bridges that, although not strictly located in Catalunya, it is part of our history and it has been included in several cross-border trails. We are talking about the Pont del Diable de Ceret (Vallespir) This stone build bridge dating from XIV and with a single arch, has a remarkable importance in the Catalan politic history, but also in the French, as it was the background for many reunions and meetings between the two governments. You can check this website if you want to read all the information regarding the history of that bridge. From the website Pirinexus, a network of cycling paths covering 352 km on both sides of the border, we can download the track from the stage 33, that crosses this bridge.
But there are plenty of other bridges, all along Catalunya, some of them best preserved than others. Some of them are unfinished, such as the one in Cardona. According to the legend, the devil was competing with Saint John building each one of them a bridge. When the devil heard the cock, he left his bridge unfinished while Saint John keep working until he finished the construction. Nowadays we can still see the bridge known as Pont de Sant Joan, not far from the devil’s bridge.
There are also other bridges in Pineda de Mar, Susqueda, Sant Cugat, Montblanc, Gironella, … Because, legends a part, the main function of these bridges was to bring water to the village. And that was something plenty of villages needed.