The historic stone bridge of Plaka in Arta, western Greece has been standing over Arachthos river for 148 years. It was the biggest one-stringer bridge in the Balkans. It was constructed by Constantinos Bekas in 1866. The famous pedestrian’s stone bridge collapsed today after strong rainfalls had been falling in the Epirus area since Saturday morning, flooding rivers and streams, infrastructure, agricultural land, homes and shops.
It is the widest stone-made bridge of Epirus and probably of Greece.
The bridge of Plaka, is considered as the biggest single-arch bridge in the Balkans, with 40m arch span and 21m height.
It was built in 1866 by master builder Kostas Bekas, after two unsuccessful attempts by other builders in 1860 and 1863.
In 1863 the bridge fell down on the day of the inauguration. During the the Second World War the bridge was bombed by the Germans near its center, but it withstood the bombing and the damage was repaired.
The bridge is considered among the most difficult single arch bridges to build.
It stands on the border-line of the Prefectures of Arta and Ioannina and belongs to the community of Plaka Raftanaion.
During 1881-1912 when Arachthos River was the border between Greece and occupied Greece by Ottoman Empire there was in a short distance an outpost of the Greek army and customs. (several sources, also here))
More pictures epirusgateblogspot.gr
Four villages in Arta perfecture have been evacuated, the prefectures of Arta and neighboring Evritania area have been declared to be in state of emergency.
Fear that also another historic and famous bridge, the Bridge of Arta, may collapse due to the unprecedented volume of water.
The floods affected also areas in the Ioannina prefecture, even some parts of Egnatia highway.
more pictures here
After an emergency meeting with officials from civil protection authorities and ministers in charge in Athens, PM Tsipras said to send immediate aid in the area. An experts team in cooperation with the Athens Polytechnic School will visit also the collapsed Plaka bridge and consider plans to reconstruction once the masses of water withdraw.