The Bridges of Glauchau (Saxony), Germany

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There is a philosophy pertaining to visiting a town that makes tourism unique and interesting: Always look for the most uncommon and unvisited places first before visiting the main attractions. They have the most valuable information and features that will make you leave town knowing a bit more than before.

Glauchau, located in western Saxony approximately 20 kilometers west of Chemnitz and 13 kilometers north of neighboring Zwickau is a typical farming community. Yet despite having 23,000 residents, the community, which has a historic city center and two castles, is known for its serenity, as there is not much activity directly in the city, but more in the areas full of green, thanks to its parks, the Glauchau Reservoir and the green areas along the Zwickauer Mulde River. Here’s a sample of what a person can see while spending time in this quiet community:

And while I was there for an interview for a teaching position at an international school, I was reminded of the philospohy mentioned at the beginning, when it came to relicts of the past. While the community was once a pub for the textile industry, it also has a set of historic bridges that are worth visiting. One of which was a viaduct spanning a street and valley, which provided a spectacular view of the northwestern end of Glauchau. Once crossing that enroute to the interview and realizing that I had a long waiting time to catch the returning train to Jena in Thuringia, it became my mission to see what other bridges are worth the visit. And sure enough, enough diamonds in the rough were discovered, which were enough to justify constructing a tour guide showing the readers where these bridges can be found and thus encouraging people to visit them in addition to the town’s historic city center. A map and link to a gallery of photos can be found at the end of the article.

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Gründelteich Island Bridge and Statue

Gründelteich Bridge and Statue

Located at the southeast end of Gründelteich pond near the Hintere Glauchau Castle, this bridge has been in service since the 1880s as it served as the lone access to the island. The history behind the island is that it was named in honor of Heinrich Carl Hedrich (1816-1900), who spent most of his life in Glauchau and left a mark in the city’s history. Hedrich was responsible for the rechanneling of the (Zwickauer) Mulde while reconstructing the dam that had been destroyed by flooding in 1839. Furthermore, he invented Germany’s  first modern water main line running through the community, as a way of channeling water away from the river and to the households. In addition to the construction of the mills and dams, Hedrich harnessed electricity through hydroelectric power. The people in Glauchau benefitted from his inventions, and Hedrich was rewarded with a head statue and an monument with a golden angel in 1884, about the same time this bridge was built. The decking, railings and piers appear to be at least 45 years old, yet the design of the bridge is the same as the original built in 1884.

 


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Talstrasse Viaduct

Talstrasse Viaduct

Also known as the Scherberger Bridge, this bridge is a cross between modernitity and history as the 1920s structure features a concrete closed spandrel Luten arch main span and two circular mini-spans implanted in the wingwall on each side. Furthermore, Art Greco patterns can be seen in the main arch span. This bridge, which spans Talstrasse at Otto-Schimmel-Strasse, which used to be the main route between the city center and the textile district before the Fall of the Wall in 1989. With the textile factories having been closed down, the route is still important today as drivers use it to reach their destination of the train station, which is three kilometers north of the city center. The bridge appears to have been rehabilitated and restored in the past decade to maintain its structural integrity and aesthetic appearance, both of which have been achieved admirably with this bridge and should be used as a posterboy for other arch bridges of this caliber that exist in the US and elsewhere, many of which are in danger of being demolished and replaced.

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To read more on Glauchau’s bridges, please click here to access the wordpress version of this tour guide. There are many more than what is shown here. Thanks! 🙂

 

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