30 March 2015

Castelo do Bode dam

Although small, when looking at it by the ruler of its mere physical dimensions, Portugal is one of the world's leading nations in the field of civil engineering. From the vast projects and works-of-art that the Portuguese civil engineers have created over the course of the centuries on the four corners of the world, the most conspicuous are, certainly, the bridges and dams. In particular, and during the course of the 20th century, a long list of projects were concluded, many of them on the former Portuguese ultramarine colonies, in Africa. Amongst all of them, perhaps the jewel of the crown, undisputed, was the Cahora Bassa dam, a cyclopic project on the Zambezi river and still remaining nowadays the biggest hydroelectric power dam in Southern Africa.
However, at the time Cahora Bassa was terminated (in 1974) Portuguese engineers and civil constructors had already a vast experience in dam construction, accumulated since the beginning of the forties, and, as a consequence, the nation had, at the time, dozens of hydroelectric projects in full operationally.
The Castelo do Bode dam, built during that golden age of investment and which construction ended in 1951, is, probably the most iconic of all the Portuguese hydroelectric power plants. Reasons for that?
Well... It was the first "big one". And due to its location, in the Zêzere basin, right in the centre of the country, and easy access it quickly became a hit amongst the vast community of weekend travellers. And... ahhh... last but not least... it's quite photogenic.
Castelo do Bode, here photographed during a calm evening time, on the past February, was, at the time of its build, the biggest hydroelectric power plant in Portugal. The project, for the Era, visionary and ambitious, was created by the French civil engineer André Coyne, at the time one of the most respected dam engineers in the world and responsible for the subsequent formation of an entire generation of Portuguese civil engineers on that particular field.
Picture taken with Nikon D610 and Nikon Nikkor 28-105 AF kit lens. Sirui T005 travel tripod and head. Post processing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.3