THE BRIDGES OF AREQUIPA
Arequipa, like any city located on the bank of a river, has had a historical process linked to the different bridges that join its bands, the same ones that, to a certain extent, represent the different historical moments through which it has passed along the weather.
The Inca bridge
The oldest, of which there is no physical evidence, was probably a suspension bridge made of vegetable fiber, in the Inca style, but of which there is some evidence due to the fact that it was mentioned in one of the first acts of the Cabildo, in the who realizes that said bridge was destroyed by the flooding of the River, which increased the urgency of building another one made of more resistant material.
The viceroyal bridge
That other bridge is precisely the Puente Real (today called Bolognesi) whose construction demanded enormous difficulties due to the particular topography of its location, specifically, the great unevenness between the left and right banks of the Chili River, which made necessary the Raising the level of the access road through the construction of a kind of ramp, a fact that, taking into account the technical means of the time (16th century), is a real feat.
The Republican Bridge
The republican era, with its marked French influence in aesthetics, the search for public spaces, and the needs of a growing city that was projected towards the right bank of the river, is reflected in the Grau Bridge, which integrates the urban and the rural sides.
The railway bridge
The Bolivar Bridge (Puente de Fierro, iron bridge) represents a decisive time in the history of Arequipa, since, despite the fact that it is currently used for the passage of cars, it was designed for the passage of the railroad since the last decades of the 19th century , at a time when said railway represented the commercial boom as a result of the export, mainly to England, of raw materials and products such as alpaca fiber, husk, tea leaves and other merchandise from the south of the country.
It was long considered the longest non-suspension bridge in the world.
The Contemporary bridge
Finally, the Vargas Llosa Bridge, also known as the Chilina Bridge, represents contemporaneity, due to its large dimensions and audacious engineering, but also constitutes a privileged viewpoint from where the vastness of the city framed by its natural environment in which its countryside stands out, the Chilina ravine and, of course, the magnificent volcanoes that border the entire space.
For all that has been said, a visit to these bridges is essential for anyone who wants to have a periodical record of the history of the city, since each bridge expresses the particular conception and way of understanding the city by its inhabitants in each of its historic stages.