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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a navigable aqueduct that carries the Llangollen Canal over the valley of the River Dee in Wrexham in north east Wales. Completed in 1805, it is the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain, a Grade I Listed Building and a World Heritage Site. When the bridge was built it linked the villages of Froncysyllte, at the southern end of the bridge in the Cysyllte township of Llangollen parish (from where it takes its name ), and Trevor, at the northern end of the bridge in the Trevor Isaf township of Llangollen parish. Both townships were later transferred to Wrexham County Borough following local government reorganisation. The name is in the Welsh language and means “Cysyllte Bridge”. For most of its existence it was known as Pont y Cysyllte (“Bridge of Cysyllte”). Other translations such as “Bridge of the Junction” or “The Bridge that links” are modern, and incorrect, inventions, from the literal English translation of cysyllte being “junctions” or “links”.

The aqueduct and surrounding lands were submitted to the tentative list of properties being considered for UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1999. The aqueduct was suggested as a contender in 2005—its 200th anniversary year—and it was formally announced in 2006 that a larger proposal, covering a section of the canal from the aqueduct to Horseshoe Falls would be the United Kingdom’s 2008 nomination. The length of canal from Rhoswiel, Shropshire to the Horseshoe Falls including the main Pontcysyllte Aqueduct structure as well as the older Chirk Aqueduct, were visited by assessors from UNESCO during October 2008, to analyse and confirm the site management and authenticity. The aqueduct was inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List on 27 June 2009, alongside previously inscribed sites such as the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Stonehenge. In March 2010 it was reported that the site had attracted a thriving community of otters.

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