Tas Bridge

Tas Bridge

Taşköprü, formerly known as Ponte Sarus, is an ancient Roman bridge that crosses the Seyhan River in the city of Adana, Turkey. It is believed that the bridge was constructed during the first half of the 2nd century AD and served as a crucial trade route linking the Mediterranean Sea to Anatolia and Persia. The bridge was also a significant strategic point for military operations during ancient times.

Over the centuries, the bridge has undergone numerous renovations and alterations by different civilizations. According to historical accounts, the Hittite king Hattusili I constructed a bridge in Adana while on a military campaign in Syria. However, it is uncertain if this bridge is the same one that stands today over the Seyhan River.

Tas Bridge

The Taşköprü bridge had been used for vehicular traffic until 2007 but now only accommodates pedestrian traffic for social events. Despite its age, the bridge has stood the test of time and remains an iconic landmark in the region.

Some historians speculate that the current bridge in Adana was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who ruled from 117 to 138 AD. This belief is based on a journal article written by a French diplomat who visited Adana in 1852-1853.

There are also accounts attributing the construction of the bridge to a Roman architect named Auxentius. This attribution is based on a Greek inscription found on an altar that served in Adana's Greek Church and is now located at the Adana Archeological Museum. However, further research suggests that this inscription may have been related to the delivery of water from nearby springs using waterwheels rather than the construction of the bridge itself. The 12-line inscription is engraved on a slab measuring 122cm tall, 93cm wide, and 12cm thick.

Throughout its history, the bridge has undergone numerous restoration projects. During the Umayyad period in 742, it was renovated and renamed Jisr al-Walid after the ruling caliph. Later, Caliph Al Mu'tasim also contributed to the bridge's restoration. Although no written records exist of subsequent repairs, the bridge was restored again in the 17th century.

The current length of the bridge is 310m (1000ft), shorter than the 550 feet recorded by Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi during his visit. The bridge boasts 21 arches, with 15 primary arches supporting the deck over the river and six small relieving arches.

In 2007, the bridge ceased accommodating motorized vehicles and was repurposed for social and cultural events. Among its sculptural decoration, a lion relief on the north side of the 11th arch and various star-and-crescent artwork can be found.