The Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System, located in the Central Mexican Plateau, encompasses a water catchment area, springs, canals, distribution tanks and arcaded aqueduct bridges. It incorporates the highest single-level arcade ever built in an aqueduct.
Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System
The Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque, named after the friar Francisco de Tembleque, was constructed between 1555 and 1572 and constitutes a hydraulic system located between the states of Mexico and Hidalgo in the Central Mexican Plateau.
The aqueduct's hydraulic system encompasses a water catchment area, springs, canals, distribution tanks and arcaded aqueduct bridges. This World Heritage site incorporates the highest single-level arcade ever built in an aqueduct.
The aqueduct's hydraulic system is an outstanding example of water conduction in the Americas and integrates along its 48 km (30 mi) extent, impressive architectural structures such as the main arcaded aqueduct at Tepeyahualco which reaches a total height of 39.65 m (130 ft), with its central arch of 33.84 m (111 ft) height.
Initiated by the Franciscan friar Padre Tembleque and built with support from the local indigenous communities, this hydraulic system is an example of the exchange of influences between the European tradition of Roman hydraulics and traditional Mesoamerican construction techniques, including the use of adobe.
The heritage canal system encompasses its water catchment area, springs, main and secondary canals, distribution tanks, arcaded aqueduct bridges, reservoirs and other auxiliary elements which extend over a distance of 48 km (30 mi).
There are three arcades along the aqueduct: the first has 46 arches, the second has 13, and the third has 67 arches. The highest valley the aqueduct spans is Papalote ravine, which is crossed by the 67 arch arcade also known as the Main Arcade.
The aqueduct structures were built with supporting structures of earthen adobes in the Mesoamerican construction tradition but at the same time referencing European models of water conduction developed during the Roman era.
As an ensemble of canals and auxiliary structures, the aqueduct system is exceptionally well-preserved and one branch remains operational up until today.