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The Aqueduct of Eupalinos; Now Open to the Public

The Eupalinos Aqueduct is one of the most significant ancient engineering constructions which is now open to the public. Located at 12km from the island’s capital, the 1.036m length tunnel was dug in the mountain above Pythagoreio Village. The Ministry of Culture and Sports supervised the restoration works, such as ensuring stability, preserving stone linings, adding a soft lighting system and placing metal gates in the open parts of the trench throughout the walkways. Along with Heraion, part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Eupalinos Aqueduct has now added furthermore interest to the archaeological site, together with the Ancient Acropolis at the top of the mountain, the old mines and the remains of ancient Samos (Pythagoreio).

The Eupalinos Aqueduct was built in the 6th century BC in order to provide the villagers of Samos, today’s Pythagoreio, with fresh water from the Ayades village, where the closest springs were found. The engineer of the project was the architect Eupalinos from Megara, Attika, ordered by the tyrant, Polycrates. It is estimated that the innovative construction of the aqueduct took ten years to be completed and it successfully worked for 1.100 years. The digging of the tunnel proceeded simultaneously on both ends, from the north and south side - Herodotus called it double mouthed tunnel - and planned to meet in the middle. This endeavour required strict geometry for the project to succeed.

The aqueduct is composed of a tunnel (of dimensions 1.80m x 1.80m), a reservoir and clay pipelines to transport water (25cm diameter). Its innovative ancient technique is the reason why it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1992.
The excavations were realised by the German Archaeological Institute throughout 1971-1973 by the director Ulf Janzen, while Herman Kienast was the first one to carry out a thorough study of the Eupalinos Tunnel. From the 1970’s up to 2013 only the first 130m from the south entrance were open to public view.

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