Alcantarilla Colonial

Colonial Culverts

Alcantarilla Colonial/ Colonial Culverts

Buried beneath the colonial city is a very important historical sight. The first hydraulic sewage system from the Colonial period. These culverts are one of the firsts of the Americas. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Construction of the first culvert began in 1502. It was named la Alcantarilla de Ovando/ The Ovando Culvert. This was the works for the entire southern part of the city. The construction was very crude and all the waste dropped directly into the river.

Alcantarilla Colonial
Alcantarilla Colonial

Building the second part of this system started in combination with the construction of the Atarazanas (Shipyards) in 1509. This second underground line was named la Alcantarilla de Atarazanas. The second culvert was a bit more advanced in its construction. This new line was built to move sewage, mainly animal debris, and did not drop into the river like the first line did.

Tunnel discovered under Calle Isabel la Católica

The culverts are constructed of brick and stone. There are a series of archways that, as the construction progressed, became more sophisticated. The changes in the way the tunnels were constructed are very noticeable.

Most of these UNESCO Historical Site tunnels have long ago collapsed or been destroyed because of city construction. There are a few that still remain intact. When they were doing the Colonial Zone renovation in 2014 some of these tunnels were discovered under the streets of the city. They were explored and conserved before they replaced the streets that cover these historical sites.

Entrance to the culverts on Calle Isabel la Catolica

See a slide show if the Alcantarilla Colonial.


One of these tunnels has been kept up so people can see and walk through a small section. The entrance to this culvert underground tunnel is located outside of the Museo del Ron y la Caña. It is on Isabel la Católica street turning north from Colon Park. You need to ask inside the Museum about visiting the site.

All You Want To Know About The Oldest City In The Americas

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