Acueducto del Águila, Eagle Aqueduct, Nerja

If you wish to see an unconventional jewel of historic Spanish architecture, visit the beautiful Eagle Aqueduct (“Acueducto del Águila”) located in the countryside just outside of Nerja.

It is also known as the Eagle Bridge (“Puente del Águila”), this structure was built in the nineteenth century and continues to be used today. 

Acueducto del Águila, Eagle bridge, Nerja

In the early days of its conception, the bridge was used to transport water into the neighboring sugar cane factory, known as the Fábrica San Joaquín de Maro, the San Joaquín sugar mill. During these times, the sugar cane industry was the largest in Nerja and the surrounding areas. The aqueduct was commissioned by the factory owner, Francisco Cantarero Senio, whose signature is still visible in the central pavilion of the aqueduct.  

Today, the aqueduct is used for local irrigation. 

The Eagle Aqueduct

Acueducto del Águila, Eagle bridge, Nerja

The ornamental design of the aqueduct is reflective of the Mudéjar style that was popular during the time of its construction. The aqueduct is constructed of four stories of brick tiers that are characterized by horseshow-shaped archways, and it is framed with a mudéjar-style spire. The top is further branded by a weather vane shaped like a double-headed eagle from which the aqueduct takes its local name. The origin of the eagle symbol is uncertain, although it is widely believed that many eagles were nesting in the hills of Maro during the time that the aqueduct was built. 

Admirers generally view the aqueduct from the south, but this angle provides only a view of its rear as the aqueduct was built facing the north. In the centre of the pavilion is a plaque which reads "pura y limpia concepción" (pure and clean conception), although time has made this text difficult to decipher.

During the Civil War, the aqueduct suffered several direct hits from naval bombardments. Much of this damage was repaired with recent investment provided by the Junta de Andalucia and the local Municipal Council.

The historic significance of this lasting structure has been formally recognized by the Andalucian government with its official status as a Site of Special Cultural Interest.

As the aqueduct is situated in a public area, there are presently no associated fees or schedule restrictions. There are also no services or amenities, although it's only a short walk to the nearby village of Maro  

Getting to the Eagle Aqueduct

Accessing the aqueduct by vehicle is fairly straightforward. Turn off the Autovía del Mediterráneo (A-7) heading towards Almería and take Salida (exit) 295. Follow the same route as you would for the Nerja caves"Las Cuevas de Nerja," (signposted) don't take the turning on the roundabout for the caves, instead keep going towards Nerja. The bridge is on your right hand side after about 200m. 

It is also possible to walk from the nearby village of Maro. Many people park in the layby and enjoy the bridge from afar. For the more adventurous you can walk up the dry river bed to the aqueduct.

There are several enjoyable routes around the area. Extensive information regarding these routes, the region, and the historic bridge itself are all available in the local tourist office.