• The first bridges, Funchal

When you go from the square Poço de Santa Maria Maior to the Pelourinho Square you will easily notice the difference of level between the squares and the bridges. The three rivers that cross Funchal have always been a serious problem to the town council, especially since they started tackling the task of urban planning and organisation.

But it was only in the late 15th century, when the town started building rudimentary wooden bridges that did not even support the weight of animals with heavy loads. The first bridge, today called Ponte do Cidrão, ordered by the town council was built over the river Santa Luzia.

It is located at the Rua da Alfândega and was constructed equal to the design of another one built a little bit further up. Even before these two bridges, there was one built in the actual old part of the town that made the connection between the Pelourinho Square and the Church of Nossa Senhora do Calhau (Our Lady of the Rocks), remains of which faded away with the time.

Finallly, in September 1495, the town council decided that the streets should be paved and the wooden bridges replaced by new bridges built in stone.

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