Cornalvo Dam and Natural Park

May 25, 2016


Photographer: Juan Manuel Pérez Rayego
Summary Author: Stu Witmer

Seen above is an aerial view of the Cornalvo Natural Park in Extremadura, Spain. Of particular note is the Cornalvo Dam at the right. This earth fill dam was built by the Romans in the first century to provide water for the growing city of Augusta Emerita, the capital of the province of Lusitania, now known as Merida. The dam is approximately 79 ft (24 m) high, 650 ft (200 m) long and blocks the Albarregas River. Although the dam was not usable for much of the medieval period, it was brought back into service in the eighteenth century. It’s now one of the oldest Roman dams in operation. On December 13, 1912, the dam was made a national monument and the area around it was deemed a special protection area in 1988.

The name Cornalvo is derived from the horn shape of the lake and the white water of the Albarregas River which the Romans apparently saw as a Cornus Albus (white horn). Park flora and fauna include Holm Oak and the black stork. Photo taken May 7, 2016.