The Bridges of Dresden Part 2: Rabenauer Grund

Arthur Lohse Suspension Bridge. All photos taken in 2017

After a sneak preview of our tour guide series on Dresden, we will look at the first part, which is located southwest of the city. Rabenauer Grund is a hilly, vastly forested region that features a height difference of up to 100 meters between the lowest and highest points. The lowest point is the River Red Weisseritz, which slices through the hills like a butcher knife, as it snakes its way to join the White Weisseritz at Freital. The highest point is the Rabenauer Höhe, a point that is nearly 360 meters above sea level and is located near the site of the Rainbow School in Rabenau. The region stretches for over 25 square kilometers, stretching from Freital and the community of Rabenau, seven kilometers away. It joins two other forests, including the Dippoldswalder Heide, which is southeast of Rabenau and extends into the Ore Mountains.  Much of the area to the north and west of Rabenau is uninhabitable due to the steepness of the hills and cliffs. The area has been protected by the “flora and fauna” laws since 1961.

For hikers and train enthusiasts, the Rabenauer Grund provides them with a chance to explore the wild side of the region southwest of Dresden.  There are many observational points that provide spectacular views of the valley and points beyond. The Freital-Rabenau-Kipsdorf six-gauge train, opened in 1880, runs along the steep cliffs of the Red Weisseritz, parallel to the hiking trail along the west bank. The rail line is one of only a handful of its kind still in service in Germany, and still provides a direct connection to the mountains and the resort towns of Dippoldswalde and Kipsdorf.


As far as the bridges in the region are concerned, over two dozen bridges and smaller crossings can be found in the Rabenauer Grund, 90% of them can be found along the rail line. Sadly, all but four of them were rebuilt after the Great Flood of 2002. In August of that year, floodwaters destroyed or severely damaged structures in its path, washing out the entire rail line, undermining every street and trail, and crippling the infrastructure. It was the same flood that wiped out almost every single bridge along the Weisseritz in Freital, as we will see in the next part, and eventually flooded 80% of Dresden itself, despite desperate attempts to keep the waters of the Elbe out of the historic city.  It took six years to rebuild the bridges along the Weisseritz and 15 years to restore the rail line to its original form.

During the visit in June 2017, everything was functioning just like it was before that Great Flood. Unique about this region is most of the bridges rebuilt along the river look similar to the original structure. This makes for some unique photos of the bridges in the landscape for historic structures, even if rebuilt to its original form, coform nicely to the green, especially those that are steel, wooden structures, like covered bridges and arch bridges made of stone- the three that one will find when exploring the bridges in the Rabenauer Grund.


The tour guide will show you the bridges you will find in the Rabenauer Grund. Because of very little information so far, the bridges can be found in the Maps below. Just simply click onto the points where the crossings are located and have a look at the pics. If you have some information that will be of use for this portion of the tour guide, please feel free to comment or send an e-mail.  Please note, PG stands for plate girders and they were numbered based on the visit going from the train station in Rabenau to Freital, a distance of 10 river kilometers.