Mystery Bridge 18: The Bridges of Quedlinburg, Germany

Adelheidbruecke overview. Photo taken in December 2012

Located at the foot of the Harz Mountains on the north side in Saxony-Anhalt, Quedlinburg with a population of 24,000 inhabitants may be a typical small town, which like its counterparts, used to have industry during the Communist era before the Revolution of 1989 and German reunification in 1990, but is suffering from demographic changes. Yet it is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Germany for various reasons. It was founded in 922 and much of the architecture that exists today- the castle complex (founded by Henry Fowler and built by Otto the Great in 936), the Quedlinburg Abbey (founded by Fowler’s widow, Saint Mathilda), and streets upon streets of Fachwerk houses (houses built with a wooden truss skeleton- date back to the period between 922 and the 1600s. It survived almost entirely unscathed in World War II and this contributed a great deal to being nominated as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.  During Christmas time, Quedlinburg hosts the Advent market, held every weekend. Winter sports festivals take place in February, and the town is one of the main tourist attractions in the summer time.

As Quedlinburg is situated along the Bode River, which starts in the Harz Mountain region and empties into the Elbe near Magdeburg, and has several tributaries snaking its way through the historic district, one would think that the town would take pride in their historic bridges, just like its northern German counterpart Friedrichstadt, right?

Think again.

Quedlinburg has over a dozen bridges spanning the Bode River, Word Creek and other tributaries flowing through the town. While many have been replaced over time because of neglect caused by the GDR Government not financing enough to restore them, there are quite a few bridges, whose historic value is high, yet there is no information in terms of its construction date, the builder and any stories that are associated with them. Unlike all the records kept in Quedlinburg, including the Annals started by the Frauenstift (founded by Saint Mathilda), the records on the bridges in town seem to be non-existent, or are they?

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles needs your help. If you have any information in forms of old records, old photos and stories pertaining to any of the bridges in Quedlinburg, please contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles at: You can include them in the comment section. Information in the German language is also acceptable and the author will be happy to translate it into English.  Once all the information is gathered, a summary and tour of the bridges in this historic town will follow.

To give you a taste of what Quedlinburg has to offer, here is a small gallery of bridges with information to help you start off the search for information on the town’s bridges. As Germans would say, “Vielen Glueck mit dem Jagt.”


Close-up of the Adelheid Bridge. Almost all of the bridges are arches, but this one is unique because of its artwork on the spandrel. Can you identify what that is and where the picture came from? Adelheid Bridge is located over the Bode at the junction of Adelheid and Turnstrasse
Bahnhofsbruecke over the Bode at the train station. This used to be an arch bridge before it was replaced. The abutments and some stone railings were saved and incorporated into the new bridge.
Word Creek crossing at the entrance of the old town from Word Garden. This is near Carl-Ritter-Strasse.



Now accepting the TRUSS Awards for 2013

Meade Avenue Bridge in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Photo taken in August 2010

After taking a much needed holiday break to spend time with family and friends, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is back, ringing in a year that should hopefully be more prosperous than the previous one for many people.  To start off the year, a website of a fellow pontist and colleague, James Baughn of the Historic and Notable Bridges of the US is hosting its annual TRUSS Award (Top Ranked Unique Savable Structure), giving it to a historic bridge that has high value in terms of its features and history and has potential to be preserved if measures are carried out to save it from demolition or being left abandoned.

If you know of a historic bridge that deserves this award, please follow this link and nominate the bridge (and its location) before 18 January. An announcement of the winners will be made sometime in February.  The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles will include its top five TRUSS Award candidates, as usual. To give you an idea who won the award last year at about this time, here is an article with the links for you to look at and help inspire you to choose your favorite bridge:

2012 TRUSS Award Results and Top 5

2013 will be an interesting year for historic bridge preservation versus progress, although many claim that the latter will not be as many as last year. But as we saw this past year, anything is possible; it depends on how people treat their historic bridges. The Chronicles will be keeping you inform of the stories of historic bridges from the US, Europe and beyond, while continuing to provide people with interesting stories and interview involving historic bridge preservation and tourism. So sit back, relax and enjoy the articles, interviews and other items to come for 2013.