I was somewhat dismayed to find out that,on a recent trip we made to Teotihuacan pyramids, we were were literally within about five kilometers of the incredible Padre Tembleque aqueduct system as we drove from Teotihuacan toward Pachuca. We had no idea the aqueduct was there and that the Arco Norte highway actually crosses the system. I would gladly have made the short side trip to see its impressive arches in the most spectacular section just outside of Tepeyahualco. It is certainly on my list of sights to see next time we’re in the area.
Acueducto Tembleque, states of Hidalgo and Mexico
The Tembleque aqueduct system was built in the 16th century by Padre Tembleque, a Franciscan friar, and is a system that runs between Zempoala, Hidalgo, and Otumba, state of Mexico, passing near the towns of Nopaltepec and Axapusco. It is very near the San Juan Teotihuacan archaeological zone and Pachuca, Hidalgo. It encompasses elements of water catchment, storage and distribution reservoirs, canals, and arched aqueduct bridges fed by five springs or water sources near the foot of Tecajete hill.
According to the website of the Patronato Acueducto Tembleque A.C. (acueductotembleque.org.mx), this system, which runs for a distance of more than 48 km, comprises the “most important hydraulic system in the world.”
There are six sections of arches in the aqueduct system:
- Ex-hacienda of Tecajete: 54 arches that reach a height of 8.35 meters
- Ex-hacienda of Los Arcos: 14 arches that carry the aqueduct over 218 meters of ravine and water.
- The monumental arches of the Tepeyahualco ravine: 68 rounded arches spanning some 900 meters, the tallest of which measures 38.75 meters. The Tepeyahualco arches include the tallest single-level aqueduct arch ever built until then since Roman times. The railroad tracks pass under one of its arches.
- The Acelotla arch: a rougher arch in an area of heavy storms and washouts. It was reconstructed in 1998.
- The arch of San Pedro: described on the website as an imposing but simple arch that sets itself apart from the rest of the aqueduct.
- The arch of San Marcos
Photos of some of the sections of the aqueduct system can be seen here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/6388