The Bridges of Meissen (Saxony), Germany

Albrechtsburg Castle and Cathedral on the hill overlooking the River Elbe and the old town.

.

Bridgehunting can provide you with some finds in the rough that many of us don’t even think about until we are there. This community of 27,000 inhabitants in eastern Saxony is one of them. Meissen is located on the River Elbe between the cities of Dresden and Riesa. It was founded by German King Henry the Fowler in 926 AD.  The city has a tradition of producing high-quality ceramics as the Meissen Porcelain Company has been in business since 1710.  One of the oldest publishing companies in Germany, also dating back to the 17th Century, can be found in the city center, which has one of finest Christmas markets and other local events. Even a tourist can enjoy the different types of beer courtesy of the oldest brewery in Saxony. The historic old town features architecture dating back to the Renaissance period, the most popular is the Church of Our Lady, which was built in 1450. The daytrip to Meissen must be completed with the tour of Albrechts Castle, which housed the very first German-speaking royal family in the Wettin family. Both the castle and the cathedral were built in the 16th Century and are located on the hill, overlooking the city and the valleys of the Elbe and Triebisch Rivers as they meet in the city.

Albrechts Castle & Cathedral and two bridges at the confluence of the Elbe and Triebisch

.

As I had written five years earlier, the city of Aue in the Ore Mountains of Saxony was known by many as the Venice of Saxony with its historic and unique bridges along the Zwickau Mulde and Schwarzwasser Rivers. Yet after touring the town and finding many unique bridges in Meissen, one should retract those comments a couple steps. Aue may be considered the Saxony version of Venice but more on the scale of the Ore Mountains, whereas Meissen is the eastern Saxony version of Venice and for a good reason.

.

While Meissen has three, well-known Elbe River crossings, including the railroad bridge that is almost a century old, the diamonds in the rough are the bridges along the River Triebisch, which empties into the Elbe between the Altstadtbrücke and the Railroad Bridge near the entrance of the historic old town. Five historic arch bridges, a pair of century old railroad bridges and two rather unique but modern railroad bridges and two GDR-era bridges can be found over a six kilometer stretch of the river from its mouth with the Elbe to the garden section a kilometer west of the railroad station Meissen-Triebischtal. We’ll feature the top ten bridges one should see, though the complete tour guide of the bridges can be found in Google Maps below for you to take a look at and visit when you are in Meissen. You will see by the examples presented that there is a big additional reason for visiting Meissen apart from its prized treasures. So sit back and enjoy!

.

**********

Meissen Railroad Bridge

Until 1868, Meissen had only one bridge that crossed the River Elbe in the Altstadtbrücke. That changed with the coming of the railroad in 1865 and with that two railroad lines that would go through Meissen- the line between Dresden and Leipzig and another between Borsdorf and Coswig. A contract was let to Johann Caspar Hackort of the bridge building company Hackort, located in Duisburg, to build Meissen’s first railroad bridge in 1865. It took three years to construct a three-span iron through truss bridge with parabolic Whipple truss spans of 54 meters each. It opened to traffic on 22 December, 1868 and would serve traffic until 1924 when structural deficiencies led to the bridge being closed to all rail traffic.

Coinciding with the construction of the rail stop at Meissen-Altstadt, a new span over the Elbe was constructed in 1926 with  Lauchhammer-Rheinmetall AG in  Berlin overseeing the construction of the span. Originally a through truss span, the draft was altered and the spans built were bedstead Howe lattice pony trusses with a total length of 255 meters, the longest span was 56 meters.

Towards the end of World War II, the bridge sustained significant damage to the span going to Dresden, with one of the spans collapsing into the Elbe. It was rebuilt in 1949 but as part of the reparations to the Soviet Union, only one track was allowed to cross the bridge and therefore the track going to Dresden was removed. That was restored when the bridge was restored in 2002. The line was electified with the installation of overhead poles in 1970.

Today, the bridge remains in service and the connections have been restored to a certain extent. Passenger rail service stops at Meissen-Triebischtal, which is four kilometers west of the bridge. Yet freight service has been restored going to Willsdruff and through other villages enroute to Borsdorf and Leipzig. The bridge is a great spot for walking across it, as a pedestrian/bike path has been built to accommodate it. It’s also a great photo vantage point. As a bonus, a small café with a view of the bridge and Elbe can be found next to the structure- easily accessible by bike, but with car, one has to use the parking area next to the river approximately 50 meters away on the north side.

**********

Altstadtbrücke

Spanning the River Elbe at the entrance to the historic Old Town, the Altstadtbrücke is one of the most photographed places in Meissen, primarily because of its approximate location near the Albrechts Castle and Cathedral. One can see the castle and the bridge on all the postcards dating back over a century ago. The bridge is the second oldest structure in Meissen and is one of the oldest crossings along the River Elbe.

The first crossing was mentioned in 1291 after the castle and its bridge was built. Even though the bridge was destroyed multiple times due to flooding or fires, the first well-known structure was one that lasted the longest- a span of over 370 years. It featured a covered bridge made of wood with stone arch approach spans. From 1443 until 1813, the bridge was in service despite being set on fire during three different wars. The structure finally succumbed to arson during Napoleon’s War in 1813. It was then rebuilt in 1815 in a similar fashion and lasted until the main span was replaced with an iron through truss structure with Whipple truss design in 1868. Until 1839, the bridge was the only Elbe River crossing between Augustusbrücke in Dresden and the next crossing in Torgau. In 1934, the bridge was replaced with a Lattice truss structure. It lasted only 11 years until it was destroyed at the end of World War II. The next structure that came into place was a steel girder span similar to today’s bridge, with three spans. It was built in 1954 and was subsequentially rebuilt in 1999-2000, two years after the new bridge to the north was built to alleviate traffic.

To this day. the bridge serves local traffic connecting the Old Town with the districts to the east. It still remains a vantage point for photographing the castle on the hill, yet one has to ask this question:

What would it have been like to have a bridge like the one in the 1400s as a foreground photo in the present? Would it have been a bonus or a burden?

Click on the information with drawings and the like here and decide for yourself.

*************

Burgbrücke at Albrechtsburg

Built in 1228, the stone arch bridge is the oldest of Meissen’s Bridges and is the only one that has been considered historically significant according to the State Department of Historic Preservation and Monument (Denkmalschutz). This stone arch bridge took seven years to build and precedes the Albrecht Castle and Cathedral, which was built beginning in the 14th Century. To this day, the bridge still provides traffic between the historic old town and the Castle on the Hill,even as a pedestrina crossing. The bridge provides a great view of both sites.

*********

New Town Bypass (B 101)

The New Town Bypass is the youngest of the bridges in Meissen but when it was built, it was part of a larger project. The bridge was built in 1997 by the German bridge company Dyckerhoff & Widmann AG but it was part of a large scale project to reroute German Highway B101 away from Meissen’s historic Old Town and off the Altstadtbrücke, which was rebuilt after this bridge opened to traffic. This included building a tunnel that goes underneath the hill where Albrechts Castle and Cathedral are located and with that a bypass of over 10 kilometers going around the western side of the city. The steel beam bridge was also unique as the spans were constructed offsite and then erected onto the beams by crane, a feat that was one of the first in Saxony post 1990 during that time. The bridge has a total length of 330 meters, the main span over the Elbe is 108 meters, making it one of the longest along the Elbe.

************

Fährmann Brücke at Highway B6

Known as the last Triebisch crossing until its confluence with the Elbe only 20 meters away, the Fährmann Bridge represents a clear example of a Luten arch bridge made of concrete. Its construction date goes back to the time between 1910 and 1940 given the appearance of the structure combined with the fact that concrete arch bridges were constructed during that time. The guess here is between 1920 and 1925. The bridge was rehabilitated after the flooding of 2002, which devastated Meissen and other cities along the Elbe. The roadway was widened to accommodate traffic and allow for pedestrians and cyclists to use it. The bridge serves Highway B6 which is the main route between Dresden and Leipzig via Riesa, the town next to Meissen along the river. When looking at the bridge more closely, it resembles a crossing flanked by historic housing thus making the Triebisch appear like Venice.

***********

Martinsbrücke

The next bridge inwards is the Martinsbrücke, which carries Martinsstrasse. The bridge is over 130 years old and features a stone arch bridge. It provides one-way traffic going into the city center with Kleinmarkt, one of three market squares located on the northern side of the bridge. It’s also the starting point of the Gerbergasse, which is the shopping mile in Meissen’s city center, parallel to the river.

.

*********

Hahnemannbrücke

This unusual arch bridge is between 100 and 110 years old. It features an sandstone arch design which is shallow and does not anchor to the abutment or pier like a normal arch span. A faux pas steel beam was added when it was rehabilitated as it was to be expanded to include sidewalks on both sides. The bridge serves Hahnemannsplatz, a street that goes directly to the market square, but

*********

Nicolas Bridge at Neumarkt

Located at Neumarkt, this single-span closed spandrel concrete and stone arch bridge is the only Triebisch River crossing with some information on its existence. According to the plaque, the bridge was built in 1910 and was rehabilitated in 2001. The bridge is located between two parks- Kathe Kollwitz on the north side, and the City Park on the south side. It’s also located adjacent to the county court house and carries Poststrasse which turns into Talstrasse when crossing it going towards Meissen Porcellaine which is only 200 meters away from the bridge. This bridge has seen a lot of traffic but it is regulated through a series of lights to avoid any accidents and traffic jams. This bridge is the most used of the Triebisch crossings in Meissen.

**********

Bahnhofsbrücke Triebischtal

This bridge is located at the entrance to the train station Meissen-Triebischtal. The single-span concrete arch bridge with closed spandrel features dates back to the 1920s, yet it was rehabilitated a while back with the installation of anchors to support the arch. This is visible on the street side of the structure. The bridge provides an excellent background with a row of century-old houses lined up along the river along Talstrasse. Once can photograph it along the street or on the opposite end at the parking lot next to the train station. The train station itself is the final stop (Endhaltestelle) of the line going to Coswig via Dresden.

*********

The Bridges at Zuckerhut

The westernmost crossing along the Triebisch leaving Meissen are a pair of bridges located at a garden complex next to Ossietzkystrasse near the Zuckerhut ruins. They feature a deck-plate girder span dating back to the 1920s and a subdivided Warren deck truss span with no vertical beams that is at least 50 years older. That span features a triangle inside a larger triangle, thus making the Warren span very unique. Both spans have a length of approximately 31 meters. The deck plate girder span serves railroad freight traffic between Dresden, Meissen and Nossen although plans are in the works to extend the passenger rail service to Nossen within the next five years. Passenger train service ends in Meissen-Triebischtal at present. The truss span was once part of a six-gauge rail line that connected Meissen with Wilsdruft located 25 km SW of Dresden. That line was abandoned by 1972 and the bridge has been sitting abandoned ever since. Both bridges can be access by crossing a nearby bridge from Ossietzkystrasse at the garden complex, 300 meters away. One just has to follow the trail which leads to this bridge and nearby Zuckerhut, another 200 meters up the hills of the Triebischtal.

*********

To find out where the bridges are located in Meissen, I’ve created a map for you to use as you plan your trip to the city. There you will find more photos and other interesting facts about the bridge which you can use to plan your bridgehunting trip. And that in addition to exploring the historic old town, the castle/cathedral and buying its signature chinaware and beer. Enjoy the city and its beautiful places.

.

Map:

The Viaduct and the Horse’s Tomb

Stuart Wilding / Jacobite Express. WikiCommons 2.0

.

The title of this article may raise an eyebrow as it looks at a viaduct and the tomb of a horse. How do these two go together? I ran accross this documentary recently which explains why. It involves the Loch nan Uamh Viaduct, a railway viaduct located in the western Highlands region, in northern Scotland on the opposite end of the nearest city of Aberdeen, near the Prince’s Cairn. Construction started in 1897 and was completed four years later. Robert McAlpine and Sons were responsible for the design and construction of the bridge, which has eight 50-foot spans, a center pier equally divides the number. The construction did not go without a tragedy, for as you can see in the documentary below, a horse fell through one of the cassions that was being filled with concrete, hence the term bridge with a horse’s tomb. How this happened and what it took to confirm the legend are explained here:

The bridge continues to serve rail traffic to this day, but primarily for tourism. The region where the bridge is located has a lot of possibilities for hiking. Whenever you get the chance to visit the region, check this bridge out. The bridge has a unique history and with that, the story of how the horse was buried in the bridge, a tragedy that truely is considered a once-in-a-lifetime event.

BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 189

Source: Snap by Matt via Instagram

.

Our next pic of the week features a huge eye watching you- the truest meaning of Big Brother. 😉 Marrius at Snap by Matt took this unique photo of the stone arch bridge, spanning one of the canals in the city park in the city of Riga, the capital of Latvia. Riga has a lot of unique bridges both spanning the River Daugava and crossing the canals that serve the city of 630,400 inhabitants. There are several tour guides to show you the bridges the city has to offer; one of which can be found here and also here.

This bridge, however, is unique because of its setting, combined with the perfect motif for photography at night, as you can see here. When visiting Riga, one should try this shot: a bridge with an exact mirror reflection on the water. Its blue lighting on the arch, combined with the arch itself- lighted in white LED- makes it look like an eye is arising out of the water. One film that has a similar feature to this one is a fantasy film entitled Krull, released in 1983 and marked the high point for American film actor Ken Marshall, who played the character Colwyn who, together with an army of bandits, sought to free his love, Lyssa, from the grapples of the Beast, who had kidnapped her during a raid at the beginning of the film and imprisoned her in the eye of the teleporting castle. The eye had a pupil that served as a gate but also as a screen that showed what was happening as the army marched towards the castle to rescue her. The blue presented was for the frame. While it received bad reviews at first, it has become a cult since then.

The bridge may not be as popular as the the ones along the Daugava, but it serves as a hidden gem for tourists and photographers alike. It should be added to the list of places to visit while in Riga. The city is famous for its wooden and art noveau architecture as well as its Medieval historic old town. But it has a lot of bridges that deserve a visit and a shot with the lens.

Apart from the Railroad Arch Bridge, this stone arch bridge, dating back to over a century ago, deserves a visit, too. 🙂 ❤

.

Mystery Bridge Nr. 168: An Unusual Truss Bridge in Steinwerder

Photo taken by Jessica Schwartz for Hamburger Brücken

.

In our next mystery bridge series, we head to the city of Hamburg. With over 2400 bridges in the Hafen City and German City-State of 1.5 million inhabitants, Hamburg has more bridges than Pittsburgh, more bridges than Venice and even more bridges than Germany’s capital of Berlin. Each bridge originates from not only a different district but also a different time era, which includes structures that had survived World War II. When visiting Hamburg, if you want to photograph the bridges, you either need to stay a month to get each and every single one of them, or visit the most famous of them.

There is a webpage that focuses on Hamburg’s bridges entitled Hamburger Brücken. The site features each of the city’s most prominent bridges as well as some fancy ones, many of them feature a unique design, let alone a unique history. You will find the links at the end of this article and some bridges from there will be featured here in the future.

This bridge caught my attention for many reasons. It’s a rather unusual through truss bridge that features an endpost that is half slanted-half vertical. Its portal bracing resembles that of a trio of bridges in Montana: The Fort Benton, the Forsyth and the now extant Fort Keogh:

Fort Keogh Bridge in Custer Co, Montana. Photo courtesy of HABS-HAER-HALS

Though the bridge in Hamburg appears to have Pennsylvania truss design features like in the three aforementioned Montana crossings, it’s highly doubtful that any of William S. Hewett‘s relatives would make the trip overseas to Germany with the possible exception of fighting the Nazis in World War II and rebuilding Hamburg afterwards as the city became part of the British-controlled zone, which later consolidated with the Americans and French.

The bridge is located in Steinwerder, one of the districts in the center of Hamburg and used to span the Steinwerder Canal. The canal was 750-800 meters long and used to connect the north and south channels of the River Elbe. It was emptied and partially filled in in the 1990s. Since then, the bridge has been sitting on ground, fenced off and its future unknown. The canal was built after World War II which means the bridge dates back to that period, especially because of the thick metal beams and riveted connections.

The question is who built the bridge? When was it built? And what type of truss is this bridge? And lastly, is there a way to reuse the bridge? A discussion that can be made via Hamburger Brücken’s Instagram page. Otherwise, feel free to comment on the Chronicles via facebook or in the comment section. Some cool facts about this bridge would be quite useful and serve as an incentive to possibly save this unique structure.

.

Hamburger Brücken webpages:

WP: https://hamburgsbruecken.wordpress.com/

LSBG: https://lsbg.hamburg.de/np-betrieb-unterhaltung/4394304/bruecken-portraet/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hamburger_bruecken/

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bridges_in_Hamburg

Nord Story NDR: Mediathek

.

BHC Newsflyer: 5 February, 2022

De Hef Lift Bridge in Rotterdam: To be dismantled to allow for Jeff Bezos’ Multi-Story Yacht to pass. Source: elm3r, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

.

.

To listen to the podcast, click here for Anchor or here for WP version

.

Headlines:

Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh taken three weeks before its collapse. Source: Samstein, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

.

Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh Collapses ahead of Biden Visit

Link: https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/28/us/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse/index.html

WGN Article: Pittsburgh bridge collapses hours before Biden visit about infrastructure — WGN-TV

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/pa/allegheny/bh96087/

.

More Viaducts Along the Motorway 45 in the Sauerland Region in Germany will need to be replaced!

Link: https://www1.wdr.de/nachrichten/bruecken-ersetzen-a45-sauerlandlinie-100.html

.

Historic De Hef Bridge in Rotterdam to be Dismantled for Jeff Bezos’ Mega-Yacht

Link: https://amp.dw.com/en/netherlands-to-dismantle-historic-bridge-for-jeff-bezos-megayacht/a-60638161

Bridge Info: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Hef

.

Poltruded Expansion of Historic Bridge in Torun, Poland

Link: https://www.innovationintextiles.com/construction-architecture/pultruded-expansion-for-historic-bridge/

Bridge Info: https://structurae.net/en/structures/jozef-pilsudski-bridge

.

Old Dobbs Ford Bridge in Cleveland before its restoration. Photo by Calvin Snead (bridgehunter.com)

Historic Bridge in Cleveland (Tennessee) Restored and Reopened

Link: https://www.wdef.com/historic-bridge-gets-new-home-at-new-cleveland-greenway/

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/tn/bradley/old-dobbs-ford/

.

Historic Carrollton Covered Bridge after the arson in 2017. Photo by Jack Schmidt (bridgehunter.com)

Work Starts on Historic Carrolton Covered Bridge in West Virginia

Link: https://www.mybuckhannon.com/work-is-underway-to-restore-historic-carrollton-covered-bridge-in-barbour-county/

Bridge Info: http://bridgehunter.com/wv/barbour/carrollton-covered/

.

.

Bridge Documentary on the Historic Bridges of Donegal, Ireland

Link: https://www.donegaldaily.com/2022/02/01/secrets-behind-donegal-bridges-unveiled-in-tv-doc/

.

.

Best Kept Secret: Munksbrücke near Ockholm

This past summer, my family and I had an opportunity to visit the North Sea coast near Dagebüll. The town of 2,500 inhabitants is located 65 km west of Flensburg and 30 km northwest of Husum. Not far from the mainland are the Halligen Islands. These small islands serve as wave breakers and are located between three and 15 kilometers off the mainland. With a couple exceptions, these islands can be accessed by foot during low tide (Ebbe) and only by boat at high tide (Flut). The influence of the tides can also be seen in the canals and waterways that exists on the mainland, which are controlled by a series of dams and dikes. This system has been in use since the Great Flood of 1961, which flooded half of Schleswig-Holstein and almost all of Hamburg, killing hundreds of residents and causing billions of US Dollars in damages. Yet the dikes are being improved as the water levels are increasing as a result of Climate Change.

Located eight kilometers to the south of Dagebüll is this bridge. Located over the Bongsiel Canal, this bridge is located in an area that is out of the way, serving a local road near Ockholm. Unique about this bridge is the fact that it is the oldest of its kind left in the state. Constructed in 1886, this bridge is 31 meters long and features a bowstring pony arch bridge with welded connections. The bridge is a year older than the swing bridge at Klevendeich near Hamburg.

Like with truss bridges in North America, the Munksbrück features welded connections, where the truss parts are bolted together by hand, supported by gusset plates. They were the forerunners to truss bridges with riveted connections, where the truss parts are slid into the gusset plates like a person wearing a glove and then bolted shut. Most of the truss bridges in Europe were built using this system of connections until the 1920s when riveted connections were introduced. Most truss bridges today are molded together offsite before sliding it into place.

Contrary to the tire tracks left on the bridge and the wear and tear, this bridge was restored in 2019. According to the engineering firm Grassl, the abutments were rebuilt, mimicking the original ones when it was built in 1886. Furthermore, the bridge itself was restored, in-kind. This means truss parts were sandblasted , strengthened and then repainted to protect them from corrosion. Some parts were most likely replaced in the process. Furthermore, a new wooden decking was installed which includes a drainage mechanism where the water is drained into the canal. The bridge was never widened, which means the one-lane bridge restriction was left in place. Based on my observation during our visit in 2021, road-users were paying attention to the oncoming traffic to ensure that those who have the right-of-way can use it. In American standards, it would be considered impossible for today’s bridges must have a minimum of three lanes- two for cars and one for pedestrians and sidewalks. A total of at least 35 feet in width, which puts the remaining truss bridges in service in danger of being replaced; the trusses sent to the recycling centers for reuse. One of the caveats I have as an American is when the bridge wobbles.
From an American bridge building perspective, it would call for an immediate replacement for a crossing must sit still when something crosses it. However if one does the homework correctly, he/she will find that a truss bridge vibration is normal as it undergoes regular stress caused by loads going across it. It’s just a mere question of how much of a load the bridge can tolerate. Yet from a neutral perspective, one needs to check and ensure that no damage is done to the diagonal beams or better yet, havea weight limit to ensure only light vehicles can cross the bridge. After all, a concrete bridge, built in the 1960s is located just a kilometer away from the bridge, clearly visible from the truss bridge.

There is very little information about this bridge except to say that it is the second crossing currently in service. The bridge is located only 200 meters away from a nearby restaurant that bears the same name. Unfortunately because of the Covid-19 epidemic, the restaurant is out of business, having been closed for quite some time. Likewise, many restaurants in this region has born the brunt of the epidemic for 70% of the restaurants located outside communities, like Dagebüll, Husum and Niebüll have shuttered because of Covid-19 lockdowns and other restrictions. As long as the epidemic exists, the way of life will be restricted unless we be active in our efforts to contain and defeat it. This includes getting the shot and even the boosters that are and will continue to be available. But it also making some fundamental changes in terms of our travel habits, such as reducing capacity at public events and on flights. The less is more approach cannot come at a better time than now. Already Schleswig-Holstein is leading the pack in these aspects and more and it is hoped that other states in Germany, as well as other countries, such as the US will follow suit. If in doubt, ask the politicians in Kiel. They will show you the path.

The (now shuttered) Restaurant bearing the bridge’s name.

.

But once the epidemic is over, perhaps places like this restaurant will reopen. If that is a case, it makes for a perfect stop to enjoy the meal and see the bridge. The Munksbrück Bridge is one diamond that one has to see while in the region where the Halligen Islands are located. It has maintained its structural integrity, even more so with its recent facelift. As long as the bridge is properly maintained and drivers pay attention to the other man on the (opposite end of the) bridge, the structure will remain in service for generations to come. It’s a trip that was not regrettable and is recommended to everyone, pontist or non-pontist.

.

.

Author’s note: I’m looking for more information on this bridge’s history, especially in terms of its builder. It’s in connection with the bridge book I’m compiling on Schleswig-Holstein’s bridges. For more information, click here. My contact info is here. Thanks in advance for your help and happy bridgehunting, folks.

.

.

💉🌉BHC

Mystery Bridge Nr. 161: A Fairy Tale Bridge with a Beautiful Forest Setting

This next Mystery Bridge takes us back over the border to Czechia and to this forest, located near the village of Misto. Lara Vajrychová found this bridge while hiking. It spans Prunéřov Creek deep in the Ore Mountains, located six kilometers southeast of the German-Czech border near the city of Chomutov. The bridge is a stone arch span, but the way it was constructed puts its date way back- at least 200 years. Vajrychová mentioned that it could have been built in the Middle Ages, which means at least 500 years ago! There’s no archeological work that was done on it, and even if so, it was probably long since forgotten. Had the bridge been used as a horse-and-carriage path, it was bypassed by bigger roads to accommodate other vehicles a century ago.

Judging by the appearance of the bridge, it has maintained its structural integrity , although some erosion is noticeableon one end. Unlike some bridges that were built using this limestone, in particular the Eger Bridge, which is currently the center of controversy between demolition and restoration, this one has remained stable with only vegetation growing on it. It is doubtful the bridge will be removed for any reasons except for collapse. And even then, it is quite easy to rebuild if one knows how to do that.

Given its natural setting, the bridge is a perfect scene for a fairy tale, something that has made Czechia famous after having produced numerous fairy tales for the past 50 years, including Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella, produced in 1973. Nevertheless, the bridge has absolutely no history behind it, let alone the information on its design and dimensions. Regardless of that, it should be preserved for years to come.

If you know more about this bridge and would like to share it, feel free to do so. The forum is open to comment. The author would like to thank Lara Vajrychová for allowing use of the photos and hopefully there will be some people wishing to share their stories behind this bridge.

.

Sister column The Flensburg Files has a tribute to the actress who played Cinderella (Aschenbrödel), who died in June of this year. Read the tribute and if possible, watch the film. It’s perfect for the holiday season. ❤ Click here.

.

.

Mystery Bridge Nr. 160: The Bridge at Caminito Del Rey in Spain

All photos courtesy of Rafa at puentesyestructuras via Instagram

.

Our 160th Pic of the Week gives you a little refresher on the term queen post truss. A queen post is a tension member in a truss that can span longer openings than a king post truss. A king post uses one central supporting post, whereas the queen post truss uses two. In simpler terms, a queen post has an upper chord between two diagonal endposts that runs parallel to the deck.  Queen posts were common for covered bridges, whereas for metal pony truss spans, one can find them for shorter spans going up to no more than 60 feet (23 meters).

Okabena Creek Bridge in Jackson County, MN. Photo taken in 2009.
Montgomery Covered Bridge in Vermont. Example of a covered bridge using queen post trusses. Photo taken by Richard Doody in 1990.

.

And with that knowledge in mind, we go to our 160th mystery bridge, which takes us to Spain. Specifically, the state of Malaga and the el Caminito Del Rey. Known as the King’s Little Path, the El Caminito del Rey is a walkway, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Ardales in the province of Málaga, Spain. The name derives from the original name of Camino del Rey (King’s Pathway), abbreviated locally to el caminito. It is known as one of the most dangerous walkways in the world as it is known for its narrowness and dangerously high altitudes. The walkway was built in 1905 and has a length of eight kilometers and several high bridges. Yet the views of the cliffs and the waterfalls below are splendid! It was rehabilitated in 2015.

This bridge is one of the high crossings you will find on the Caminito. It’s one that can be seen as a steel beam bridge in the distance. Yet up close, it is clearly a queen post deck truss bridge, but built in a very unusual style. The beams support a set of wire beams connected with eyebars. Turnbuckles are found on the bottom chord underneath the bridge decking. Given its unusual design it is easy to debate whether this bridge is indeed a queen post deck truss bridge or simply a steel beam truss supported by wires. This question I will leave up to you as a reader to decide and debate about with your fellow colleagues.

Given its age and appearance, plus the fact that pin-connecting truss bridges were commonly built during that time, this bridge was probably built at the same time as the walkway itself. If it had not existed after 1905, then the cut-off date for bridge building was most likely 1915, when truss bridges with riveted connections were being introduced for crossings. Yet European truss bridges had relied more on welded trusses- truss with beams welded in with bolts- than these pin-connected truss bridges, which makes this bridge a rarity in itself. In fact, not more than 10% of all truss bridges built before 1910 were pin-connected. The rest were those with welded connections, though riveted truss bridges debuted before 1880, but didn’t dominate the bridge building scene until after 1900.

According to Rafa at puentesyestructuras, who allowed me to use his photos for this article, the bridge is closed to traffic due to structural deterioration. And as you can see in the photos, the railings only consist of a piece of wire going across. Given its location over a steep cliff, replacing the structure would be considered almost impossible unless the new bridge was constructed off-site and then hoisted down with a helicopter. Most likely, repairs and rehabilitation will be the best choice to ensure the historic structure remains in tact and in use again.

Source: User Gabirulo on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

.

.

The bridge has one key advantage: Since its reopening in 2015, the Caminito Del Rey can only be visited if and only if you reserve ahead of time. Sometimes three months are needed to take the 8km challenge in the high cliffs. Those trespassing without a permit face fines in the tens of thousands of Euros.  This restriction in the number of tourists is useful not only to preserve the integrity of the walkway and the bridges, like this one, but also for safety reasons. Nevertheless, those with a fear of heights should avoid taking this route and rather get some gorgeous photos from down below or with a drone.

After all, photographing bridges at such high altitudes is only fun when you have nerves of steel and a heart of stone. Therefore, as a word of advice, if there is a more creative way of photographing bridges like this one, try from the ground first, for they are the best ones. Cameras can be replaced, lives cannot.

.

.

Author’s note:

Many thanks to Rafa for allowing me to use his pictures for this article. If you have some information on the bridge’s construction history, feel free to state your peace in the comment section below or through the BHC on its social media pages. When debating over the type of bridge it is, keep it clean and be nice. Thank you.

.

.

Mystery Bridge Nr. 157: The Oldest (and Unusual) Bridge in Husum, Germany

In Schleswig-Holstein, the oldest known bridge in the state can be found in the town of Schmalfeld in the district of Segeberg, located in the eastern part of the state. It was built in 1785 and was in service for 198 years before it was bypassed and converted into a bike trail crossing. It is one of only a handful of arch bridges that are known to exist in the northernmost state in Germany.

Source: Holger.Ellgaard, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

.

Many arch bridges have gone unnoticed during the surveys of historic bridges in the last half decade, some of which deserve some sort of recognition.

The Schiffsbrücke in Husum is one of them. The bridge spans the Mühlenau at Zingeldamm near the Schiffsfahrtsmuseum (Museum of Shipping) and is the last crossing before the river empties into the harbor- right after the crossing. There’s next to no information on the bridge except for a couple dates to pass along to it. The first is in the picture above, which has a date of 1858 with the letter F on it.

Husum was part of the kingdom of Frisia, a region which stretched from southern Denmark, all the way to northeastern Netherlands, all along the North Sea coast and includes the islands in the Halligen region. The first known existence came in during the Roman Empire and it was once a regional powerhouse until the 16th Century, when it was split up. The German portion of Frisia, including Husum, became Uthlande, which later became part of Denmark until after the War of 1864, which resulted in German annexation. It is possible that given the Danish crown on the insignia, that Denmark had recognized Husum as Frisian, thus allowing for the language and culture to continue thriving. Yet we need more information to confirm these facts and to answer the question of why we have this insignia.

While the insignia states it was built in 1858, the informational board located on Zingeldamm stated otherwise, as it claimed that the bridge was built in 1871. Where the information came from is unknown but as original insignias on bridges are known to be the most reliable source of information to determine its construction date, there are two possibilities behind these two conflicting dates:

  1. The information is proven false because of a lack of records and thus historians may have assumed the date without taking a closer look at the bridge.
  2. The bridge may have been rebuilt after it was destroyed but the original brick railings, arch and insignia were retained and restored to provide a historic taste and conformity to Husum’s thriving city center and adjacent harbor.

Much of Husum survived unscathed during World War II as it used to serve as a naval port for the Nazis until its relocation to Flensburg in the district of Mürwik in 1943. Its only scar was a concentration camp near the town of Schwesing, where prisoners were used to build a wall to keep the waters of the North Sea out. The camp only existed for a few months in 1944, yet atrocities committed there could not be ignored and even an investigation into the camp took place in the 1960s. The city center, with its historic brick buildings dating back to the 17th century, has mainly remained in tact with only a couple minor alterations over the past 75 years, which means Husum has retained its historic architecture making it an attractive place to visit. The Schiffsbrücke represents that historic character that belongs to Husum’s past.

Unique feature of Schiffsbrücke is its wall. Husum lies on the North Sea coast and has its Flut and Ebbe (high and low tide). To keep the waters of the North Sea out of the Mühlenau, the wall is hoisted up to the keystone of the arch span. Because the Mühlenau is a “sweet water” river, this is done to protect the flora and fauna that exists in the river and are reliant on fresh water. Other than that feature, the bridge and its unique brick railings and insignia is one of the most unique and ornamental arch bridges in the state. Yet its mystery behind the construction date and the engineer behind the bridge and wall system makes it a bridge that one should research more on to find out its history.

And with that, it is your turn. What do you known about the Schiffsbrücke regarding its history, and which date would you lean towards- 1858 or 1871?

Feel free to place your comments on the Chronicles, either directly or via social media.

.

.

Author’s Note:

This bridge article is in connection with a book project on the Bridges of Schleswig-Holstein that has restarted since the author’s return. Click here to look at the details and feel free to contribute some information on the project. Happy bridgehunting, folks. 🙂 ❤

.

.

Best Kept Secret: Landfalloybrua in Drammen, Norway

When we think of Norway, we think of large fjordes flanked by mountains, surrounded by wooden houses overlooking the seas. We think of long crossings that connect communities and attract tourists. We don’t think much about the country’s historic bridges as we are used to fancy but unique modern ones that cover the landscape.

That is unless you are Monika Pettersen, a photographer who finds some of the most unique and historic bridges in corners that are unknown to all but the locals. 🙂

This bridge caught the eyes of hundreds who have seen it on her Instagram page and is a best kept secret. The structure is a double-leaf bascule bridge spanning the river that also carries the name where the structure is located- Drammen. According to information I collected- it was built in 1867 based on the designs of Halvor Heyerdahl. It was 158 meters long and 2.9 meters wide. The spans were hoisted to allow for ships to pass. After World War II, local officials addressed the need for a taller structure to ship goods into and out of Drammen. Therefore a new bridge was built on alignment next to the drawbridge span and opened to traffic in 1967. Afterwards, this span was left in place and today, it serves as a pier and a monument, dedicated to its history and its association with the city.

This photo was taken at sundown and shows the reflections of the bridge, covered by collection of clouds. Its tranquil setting makes it a place where one could go for serenity. Normally, old bridges and natural settings make it a perfect place to listen to nothing but the nature. This one goes well beyond it as one can enjoy a little bit of history and awe at its structural appearance along the way. A perfect shot for a perfect bridge. ❤

.

Many thanks to Monika Pettersen for allowing me to use her picture. You can see more of her stunning photos by visiting her Instagram page (click here).

.

.