When we speak of bridges linking two nations, the imaginary takes us to colossal megastructures. Those engineering works of many miles in length that are for awe. But this article talks about the world’s smallest international bridge linking two countries.
Spain and Portugal linked by the world’s smallest international bridge
There are very small bridges that unite two nations. This is the case of the smallest international bridge in the world that is located on the border of Spain and Portugal. It has a span of 3 meters. However, it is as useful an international bridge as the one linking China and Russia, which is almost 20 kilometres long.
This bridge is called the El Marco Bridge. It is only 3 meters long and is located in the hamlet of El Marco. It is almost an hour’s drive from La Codosera, which is a small municipality in Badajoz. This village of just over 2,000 inhabitants has beautiful natural pools.
The bridge links the municipality of La Codosera in Spain with the municipality of Arronches in Portugal. In the past, it was nothing more than a plank to cross the Abrilongo stream that separates the two countries. This allowed the locals to cross from one side of the river to the other.
Despite being on both sides of the border, the settlement has the same name. The current bridge is 3.2 metres long and 1.45 metres wide. Although it is not a colossal work, the bridge is used to cross from one side of the border to the other.
The old bridge was put to other uses
However, they also used it to smuggle goods from both sides. Smugglers crossed the bridge with goods such as knives, coffee, towels, wine, cork and even cattle.
It was also possible to cross the river by means of two stones that were marked with an E, for Spain and a P for Portugal. The current bridge has a reform by the Municipal Chamber of Arronches in Portugal. The Portuguese part of the village El Marco is located there.
The bridge is a tourist attraction in the village El Marco
The village of El Marco is distributed with streets in both Spain and Portugal. It is not the one that was originally built, which had the same measures as the current one. In 2008 it was rebuilt with the contribution of European funds.
According to locals, the old bridge was made of wood and they added metal handrails. However, its structure was very fragile. When the creek was full of water, it carried the planks away with it.
The bridge that once witnessed smugglers from both sides of the border, today is a prized tourist object. Those who pride themselves on visiting the longest bridges in the world also want to see the smallest one.