Location of the Guadiana in the Iberian Peninsula
The Guadiana at the height of the Roman bridge at Mérida
The Guadiana is a river on the Iberian Peninsula, which flows through Spain and Portugal, and partly forms the border. In Roman times the river was called Anas, from which the Arabs who settled here later Wādī Yanah ( وادي يانة ) made .
The Guadiana rises northeast of Ciudad Real in the Ojos del Guadiana in the homonymous Spanish province, Castilla- La Mancha. It first flows in predominantly westerly direction, crosses the Extremadura and then turns to the south. In two sections, including the estuary, it forms the border between Spain and Portugal. In between, it flows through the southeastern part of the Portuguese region of Alentejo. The Guadiana empties in Ayamonte (Andalusia, Spain ) and Vila Real de Santo António (Algarve, Portugal) in the Gulf of Cadiz, which is part of the Atlantic Ocean. The largest city on the river is Badajoz in Spain.
The Guadiana Alto or Guadiana Viejo is often regarded as the upper reaches of the Guadiana. It arises at the border of the provinces of Albacete and Ciudad Real by the confluence of several rivers source at the Lagunas de Ruidera and seeps shortly thereafter Argamasilla de Alba in the soil. Its water feeds the approximately 40 km west situated actual sources of the Guadiana, the Ojos del Guadiana.
Legend of the three main streams
The Guadiana is the southernmost of the three main rivers (together Tajo and Duero ) flowing from Spain to Portugal. According to legend, these three early river spirits, who wanted to contest a race to the Atlantic were. Before they lay down together to sleep in what is now Spain. The next day the Guadiana to be woken up as the first spirit, so he could choose the nicest and flattest route. The Tagus was late to it, but when last monitored the Duero. This had to be his way through the rocky north of the peninsula tracks, whereby its rough character is explained.