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PLAKA

The historic single-arch bridge of Plaka, in the northern Greece region of Epirus, which collapsed due to torrential rains in 2015, is up and standing after extensive repair, restoration and reinforcement work.

Located in Epirus’ famed Zagori region, the 18th-century bridge was reconstructed with local stone and mud using the building technique of the master craftsmen who first erected it.

The historic bridge will be delivered to the public in the summer after being observed by specialists in how well it survives the difficult weather conditions prevailing in the winter by the river, Professor of Metallurgy and Mine Engineering at the National Metsovio Polytechnic Dimitris Kaliabakos told AMNA.

Following the removal of the metal frame used to support the bridge during reconstruction, “now the major crash test begins,” he said, speaking of “the largest restoration of a stone bridge globally.”

Over 300 people worked for the restoration, he noted, including specialist stonemasons and a university team comprising 30 professors and 40 researchers.
For the fallen arch, 9,000 replacement pieces in wedge form were hewed from very hard stone, each measuring 70 by 40 by 10 cm, worked on twice or even thrice.

“No modern technology or hidden supports, nor a single kilo of metal has been used for the restoration,” Kaliabakos said, and everything is as it was built 150 years ago. “The result is a bridge which is more than a twin of the first one, it is a bridge with the same DNA,” he said.

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