One of the greatest engineering achievements of ancient times, a Greek wonder on the island of Samos, the 6th century BC Eupalinos Tunnel re-opened to the public this week following extensive restoration works.
The 1,036m tunnel or Eupalinian aqueduct was excavated more than 2,500 years ago from both ends using the principles of geometry to such precision that it stands as a testament to the ingenuity of ancient Greek engineer Eupalinos. Today laser-guided machines are used to drill tunnels from both ends.
The Eupalinos Tunnel, which operated for 1,000 years before it fell into disuse, is part of the Pythagoreion archaeological site, an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.
“Traversing the Eupalinos Tunnel is a once-in-lifetime experience… Let’s take heed of what it has to say about the ancient and contemporary engineers,” said Greek Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou on Tuesday, during the opening event on Samos.
The restoration works were funded by the EU’s NSRF program and cost 3.1 million euros.
The site can now be visited in its entirety and together with the Pythagoreion and Heraion offer one of the most rewarding travel experiences in Greece and on Samos.
Tunnel of Eupalinos – Overview
The Eupaline Aqueduct was designed and built around 550 BC. in order to supply – with safety and high hygiene standards – the ancient city of Samos, today’s Pythagorion. And it worked successfully for 1100 years.
It is one of the world’s most remarkable monuments of human craftsmanship and manufacturing capacity. That’s why, since 1992, it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is a complex technical project that includes, in addition to the tunnel, a reservoir, adder and underground urban pipeline. Its starting point was a natural spring near the current area of Agiadon.
The aqueduct of the ancient city of Samos, called the “two-mouthed tunnel” by Herodotus, is one of the most significant technical achievements of Greek antiquity. It is a tunnel 1036 m. long, hewn from the rock through Mt. Kastron, starting from the north side and ending to the south. It is located 55 m. above sea level and 180 m. below the top of the mountain. The dimensions of the tunnel are 1.80 x 1.80 m. Inside it, at a depth of 2-9 m. is the channel that carried the water to the city. Two architectural phases have been distinguished:
b) the Roman, with a barrel-vaulted roof.