Borders to Bridges: The Answers to the Guessing Quiz

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And now, after having looked and guessed at the bridges, here are the answers to the Guessing Quiz on whether the following bridges were part of the borders or not.  🙂 

Please note that information on the correct answers pertaining to the “border” bridges can be found in the links highlighted. Some of these bridges were documented by the Chronicles earlier in the year.

GUESSING QUIZ: THE BRIDGES ALONG THE BORDER

When the border and the Berlin Wall went up, many of the bridges that made up the border between the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East) were closed down or even removed. Only a handful of crossings remained open but under stringent control by the East German border guards, to ensure that no one left the country who was not supposed to.

The question is: Which bridges were affected?  Look at the pictures below, determine if they were borders or not by marking Yes or No, and state your reason why by identifying where they are located. Borders meant that the bridges were either shut down to all passage or were under strict control by the East German army. The 16 German states are listed below to help you.  Good luck! 🙂

1.

Photo: R. Kirchner for wikiCommons

   /      N

Where? This bridge spans the River Elbe near the village of Dömritz at the Lower Saxony- Mecklenburg/Pommeranian border. This used to be a railroad crossing, the longest of its kind over the River Elbe. 

 

2.

glienicker 2

Y      /       N

Where? This is located at the border between Berlin and Brandenburg near the town of Potsdam. The Glienicke Bridge was once known as the Bridge of Spies because of the spy exchanges that happened between 1961 and 1989. 

 

3.

61277351_2446054655425169_9220180807434371072_o

Y    /       N   

Where? This is located in Jena in Thuringia- The Alte Burgauer Brücke spanning the River Saale

 

4.

o-burg

Y        /          

Where? This bridge is located in Oranienburg (Brandenburg)- The Queen Luisa Bridge. 

 

5.

Photo by Torsten Bätge for wikiCommons

Y         /            N

Where? This bridge spans the River Elbe in Lauenburg (Schleswig-Holstein), located 3 km west of the three-state corner where S-H, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Pommerania are located. It connects Lower Saxony with S-H. 

 

6.

bornholm str. br

Y            /                  N

Where? This is the Bösebrücke at Bornholmerstrasse in Berlin. It used to span the railway and Berlin Wall between Prenzlauer Berg and Gesundbrünnen

 

7.

60348074_2428639390500029_8081718061121404928_o

Y       /          N

Where? This is the Rudolphstein Viaduct spanning the River Saale at Motorway 9 at the Thuringian-Bavarian border. It was rebuilt in 1966 and was a border crossing until 1990. 

 

8.

IMGP8692

Y           /            N   

Where? This is the Eider Bridge in Friedrichstadt in Schleswig-Holstein, the oldest of the tied arch bridges that later replaced many Elbe River crossings, many in the former East Germany. 

 

9.

Photo by Störfix for WikiCommons

       /            N

Where? This is located in Vacha, at the Hesse-Thuringia border. The 13-span stone arch bridge was indeed guarded by border patrolmen until 1989. 

 

10.

Y        /         N

Where? This is the Hörschel Viaduct, spanning the River Werra at the Thuringia-Hesse border. It carries the Motorway 4. 

 

11.

DSCF8658

Y         /           N

Where? This is the Oberbaum Bridge in Berlin between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

12.

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Y         /           N  

Where? This is the Harburg Bridge, spanning the River Elbe in Hamburg. 

 

13.

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Y         /           N  

Where? This viaduct is located in Grobau (Saxony), approximately 3 kilometers from the border train station Gutenfürst and another three from the Saxony-Bavarian border. 

 

14.

IMG_20190506_165214196_HDR

Y         /           N  

Where? This one is near Koditz, near Hof. It spans the River Saale but west of the Saxony-Bavarian border. 

 

15.

selbitz 3

        /           N

Where? This is the Selbitz Bridge, at the Bavarian-Thuringian border near Bad Blankenstein

 

16.

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        /           N

Where? This is the Sparnberg Bridge, spanning the River Saale 3km west of Rudolphstein Viaduct at Sparnberg (Thuringia)

 

17.

59655835_2414395578591077_246195518340857856_o

Y         /          

Where? This is the Harra Bridge spanning the Saale near Bad Lobenstein (Thuringia). The bridge is 13 kilometers from the Thuringian-Bavarian border.

 

18.

31934788_1874852035878770_8085130455587749888_o

        /           N

Where? This is the former Avus Bridge at Checkpoint Bravo near Zehlendorf (Potsdam). It still spans the Teltow Canal at the former East-West border (now Berlin-Brandenburg) 

 

19.

ZwSch

Y         /           N

Where?  This bridge is located near Legenfeld in Saxony, spanning the River Zwickau Mulde. 

 

20.

IMG_20190506_175912431_HDR

Y         /           N

Where? This is the Hirschberg Bridge spanning the River Saale between the Thuringian town and Untertiefengrün (Bavaria)

 

German States:

Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Pommerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia

 

Answers will come on November 9th, the same day as the Fall of the Wall.  🙂

Check out the Flensburg Files and follow the updates pertaining to the 30th anniversary celebrations. There are lots of articles that have been written on this topic, including former border crossings and videos, just to name a few. As a hint, some of the answers to this quiz lie both there as well as here.

 

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Borders to Bridges: A Guessing Quiz on the Bridges of the former East-West German Border

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1989 marks the year of the Fall of the Wall. 30 years ago on November 9th, the East German government opened the borders that had separated East and West Germany for 21 years. This resulted in the Fall of the Wall and as a consequence, the Reunification of Germany, which happened on 3 October, 1990.

 

GUESSING QUIZ: THE BRIDGES ALONG THE BORDER

When the border and the Berlin Wall went up, many of the bridges that made up the border between the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East) were closed down or even removed. Only a handful of crossings remained open but under stringent control by the East German border guards, to ensure that no one left the country who was not supposed to.

The question is: Which bridges were affected?  Look at the pictures below, determine if they were borders or not by marking Yes or No, and state your reason why by identifying where they are located. Borders meant that the bridges were either shut down to all passage or were under strict control by the East German army. The 16 German states are listed below to help you.  Good luck! 🙂

1.

Photo: R. Kirchner for wikiCommons

Y    /      N                                       Where? ____________________________________________________

 

2.

glienicker 2

Y      /       N                                  Where? _____________________________________________________

 

3.

61277351_2446054655425169_9220180807434371072_o

Y    /       N                                             Where? ________________________________________________

 

4.

o-burg

Y        /           N                                  Where? _________________________________________________

 

5.

Photo by Torsten Bätge for wikiCommons

Y         /            N                                                            Where? __________________________________

 

6.

bornholm str. br

Y            /                  N                                                 Where? ___________________________________

 

7.

60348074_2428639390500029_8081718061121404928_o

Y       /          N                                            Where? _____________________________________________

 

8.

IMGP8692

Y           /            N                                Where? ________________________________________________

 

9.

Photo by Störfix for WikiCommons

Y        /            N                                  Where?__________________________________________________

 

10.

Y        /         N                                                   Where? _________________________________________

 

11.

DSCF8658

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

12.

71240654_2689168554447110_8234287724815712256_o

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

13.

67123024_2551689028195064_8252882931752632320_o

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

14.

IMG_20190506_165214196_HDR

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

15.

selbitz 3

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

16.

60831355_2487501947935430_5515844232725659648_o

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

17.

59655835_2414395578591077_246195518340857856_o

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

18.

31934788_1874852035878770_8085130455587749888_o

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

19.

ZwSch

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

20.

IMG_20190506_175912431_HDR

Y         /           N                                                        Where? _____________________________________

 

German States:

Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Pommerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia

 

The answers to the quiz are HERE.

 

Check out the Flensburg Files and follow the updates pertaining to the 30th anniversary celebrations. There are lots of articles that have been written on this topic, including former border crossings and videos, just to name a few. As a hint, some of the answers to this quiz lie both there as well as here. You will find them all here.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 62

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This week’s Pic of the Week keeps us in the Vogtland region. This time, though, we are back in Saxony and at this bridge, the Pirk Viaduct at Motorway 72. The Viaduct features 12 arches with an average height of 60 meters (180 feet) above the ground. With a total length of ca. 505 meters (1400 feet), the viaduct is the second longest structure on the original route, whose construction started in 1935 but was interrupted because of World War II in 1940.

The Pirk Viaduct also got the dubious award as being the only viaduct that took over a half century to build. Construction on the bridge started in 1937 but was interrupted in 1940. By that time, only the arches and pylons had been built and the spandrels and decking needed to be built. The bridge remained a symbol of the division between East and West Germany in the Vogtland Region for the Motorway 72 sackgassed at Plauen on the east end and the border near Koditz in Bavaria on the west end. The use of East German patrolmen was not needed because the barrier was already there with the bridge. Interesting was the fact the Motorway on the west end was numbered Motorway 772 prior to 1989. On the east end, the motorway became the “Death shot,” because of its narrow lanes. 55 people died using the route.

Still, the Motorway 72 maintained its strategic importance between Bavaria and Saxony at the time of the Revolution and henceforth, the Pirk Viaduct was placed in the top five of projects to be completed immediately. Josef Scheider of the Bavarian Ministry of Building and Infrastructure’s Bridge and Tunnel Division, spearheaded the efforts to finish building the viaduct, despite the exorbitant costs involved. This included inspecting the bridge for its structural stability in the 50 years absence, creating the concrete spandrels that were closed and lastly building the lane in two parts to toal the width of 29.5 meters. Nevertheless, construction started in 1991 with the northbound half of the viaduct being opened to traffic on 2 October, 1992. The rest of the bridge was completed and opened on 3 September, 1993. Counting the delays, it took 56 years to complete the viaduct, which is one of the longest on record.

Still, the bridge is worth a photo opportunity as it spans the River White Elster, the Plauen-Cheb Railline and a pair of streets. The best photo of the bridge is on the south end near the Pirkmühle near the village of Türbel. This is where I took the panorama shot in 2018. On the same side one can find the monument of Hr. Scheider at the junction of Hofer Strasse and the road going to Pirkmühle. On the opposite side of the bridge, one can dine at a small snack shop bearing the structure’s name.

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The masterminds behind the original construction of the viaduct included chief engineer Walter Kinze (who later became Professor at the Technical University in Dresden), as well as three well-known Building firms of Philipp Holzmann, Grün & Bilfinger and Wayss & Freytag. As many as 450 People worked to build the Bridge before the war put the Project on hold. The Dyckerhoff & Widmann. Company finished the Bridge in 1991-93. For more Information on the Bridge, click here.

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The Chronicles now has a tour guide series on the bridges in the Bayerische Vogtland Region, which includes the bridges of Hof as well as well-known structures along the Saale and Elster at the borders of Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia. To view the bridges in the guide series, click here and then scroll down. It can be found under the subcategory Bavaria.

 

What to do with a HB: The Case of the “Marode” Selbitz Bridge at Blankenstein

Selbitz 4 head

As the state of Bavaria is striving for the world record with the construction of the longest pedestrian suspension bridge over the Selbitz Valley near the Thuringian-Bavarian border, one wonders if the project is too ambitious, given the fact that we have too many “marode” bridges in the region. Apart from the problems with the Sparnberg Bridge near the Motorway Crossing at Rudolphstein, we have another crossing that needs attention very badly. And for a good reason too: the bridge is located right at the junction of seven different hiking trails going in each direction!

selbitz 7
Source: brueckenweb.de

The Selbitz Bridge is located in the small town of Blankenstein, located on the Thuringian side of the former East-West German border. The bridge spans the river Selbitz and is the last crossing before it empties into the River Saale. For four kilometers between the confluence with the Saale and the junction with Muschwitz Creek, the Selbitz separates the two states  and had once been a military border that kept Blankenstein behind the Iron Curtain and people from fleeing over the river.  In fact, only a kilometer northeast of the confluence between the Selbitz and the Saale, there was a site of an attempted escape to the western half of Germany, which occurred on 6 January, 1989, nine months before the Fall of the Wall. There, three men and a lady tried escaping over the wall erected on the Thuringian side during the night. After going over the first wall and approaching the second inside the “Death Zone,” they were spotted by East German and Russian guards who shot at them. Eventually, one of the men succeeded in swimming across the icy cold Saale into Bavaria; the other three were arrested.  Blankenstein was one of the key escape routes used by many wanting to try and escape to the West until the borders were opened on 9 November, 1989. Some succeeded by breaking through the barriers. Others were arrested and imprisoned. One fatality was recorded in 1964.

selbitz 5

After the Fall of the Wall came the demolition of the borders that had separated the two Germanys for 28 years. And with that, the construction of several bridges over the rivers and streams that had been fenced off. The Selbitz Bridge was one of the bridges that was built crossing the former border. Originally a Waddell through truss bridge, the 29-meter long wooden crossing was completed in 1991. With that came an opportunity to reunite Thuringia and Bavaria by foot, providing hikers with an opportunity to explore the Thuringian Forest, the Fichtel Mountains and the Schiefgebirge using seven hiking trails- six here plus another one in the making that runs along the former border that had separated Germany prior to November 1989.  After the construction of the bridge, two monuments, built on each side of the Selbitz, as well as parking areas and a combination tourist information and first aid station were built, where the six current (and one planned) routes meet. The bridge practically served as the key meeting point between two points of junction, one for each state.

selbitz 1
The Bavarian monument where seven hiking trails meet, containing information, photos and maps of each trail. This was constructed a couple years ago and can be found off the county road opposite the river from Blankenstein.

Despite the bridge connecting the two states, problems arose in 2015 with the truss structure itself. Due to a combination of weather extremities, wear and tear and the damages caused by the two floods that ravaged Germany- 2002 and 2013, the Selbitz Bridge was considered structurally unsound, getting a grade of 3.4 out of 5 during an annual inspection in 2016. Bridges with a grade of 3 or worse are required to be rehabilitated to make it safer or be completely replaced.  The end result was an unusual move designed to keep the structure’s integrity but also give the bridge a new look. Hence the gabled tower and the top half of the Waddell truss were taken down, new bracings were added in its place, thus creating a Parker through truss design that is supported with X-framed portal bracings.  Furthermore, the decking was supported with leaning beams with x-bracings, anchored into the abutment, as seen in the picture below:

selbitz 3

Inspite this, this may not be enough to save the bridge, for a lot of wood rot and cracks are appearing in the lower half of the trusses. Most glaring are the end posts, one of which looks so shredded that it could potentially cause the bridge to collapse under ist weight or even flip over into the water. The least it could happen is that the trusses would tilt, putting more tension on the wooden truss parts. While some work has been done on the bridge already, with the truss conversion, it only represents a dressing to the problems the bridge has and the inevitable that the City of Blankenstein as well as the states of Thurngia and Bavaria will have to face- namely that the bridge will need to be replaced. Whether there is funding available remains unclear, especially in light of the recent approval of the construction of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world at Lohbachtal and Höllental at the cost of 23 Million Euros.

selbitz 6

While this controversial project remains ambitious and will surely bring in hundreds of thousands of tourists to the region, one wonders if this project is being carried out at the expense of several bridges in the region that are in dire need of attention. And the numbers are growing as more people come to the region for vacationing. By making the necessary repairs to the crossings, like in Sparnberg and here in Blankenstein, it will do more than provide safety for drivers, cyclists and hikers.

selbitz 2

A Map of the Bridges at the Thuringian-Bavarian border can be found here. The Selbitz Bridge is on the far left.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 50

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Our 50th Pic of the Week keeps us at the former West and East German border (now Thuringia-Bavaria) but takes us to what was one of the most important crossings during the Cold War.

The Rudolphstein Viaduct, known since 2006 at The Bridge of German Unification, spans the River Saale between the towns of Rudolphstein on the Bavarian side and Hirschberg on the Thuringian side. Another town that is even closer to the bridge is Sparnberg, which is only a kilometer away. The 255 meter long bridge carries the Autobahn 9, which connects Berlin with Munich, passing through Leipzig/Halle, Hof, Nuremberg and Augsburg. The bridge was the work of Fritz Limpert and Paul Bonatz, built in 1936 as part of the project to build the Autobahn that still connects the two major cities. It featured two identical bridges with eight arches made of granite stone, with a height of 35 meters and a width for each bridge of 22 meters. It was one of the first crossings and served as a polster boy for Adolf Hitler’s Autobahn construction project which expanded until 1942 and included dozens of bridges similar to this crossing. Another bridge nearby, the Koditz Viaduct in Hof, was built in 1940 as part of the Autobahn project connecting Hof with Chemnitz.

The bridge was severely damaged before the end of World War II with one of the arches having been detonated by Nazi soldiers in a desperate attempt to slow the advancement of American troops from the south and the Soviets from the east. The bridge sat idle for 21 years until 1966, when an agreement between both East and West Germany allowed for the bridge to be repaired and reopened to traffic. It served as a border control crossing until the Fall of the Wall in 1989. Seven years later, an extension was built which serves northbound traffic to Berlin. The original spans serve southbound traffic.

A lot of the relicts from this viaduct and nearby can still be found today. This includes a path where the Soviets and East German police patrolled the Thuringian side to ensure that no one attempted to cross the border over to Bavarian side. This includes a unique pic which can be found here. South of the bridge is a former Bavarian crossing point, which is now a rest area with convenience store, restaurant and souvenir shop. And then we have this pic:

 

This was found on the north end of the bridge. The question here is what was this part of the bridge used for? We do know that parking at this bridge has been banned since 1989, but what was this place used for prior to that? This question goes to any historian, local, traveler or the like that is willing to answer this .

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 29

 

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To kick off the Holiday Season, this pic of the week takes us to Chemnitz and to this bridge. Even though this Waddel through truss bridge with tubular and wire connections, which spans the River Chemnitz on the south end of the City, the snow can turn a modern bridge into a Beauty, which was the case here. These photos were taken on 17 January 2017, where over a foot of snow fell in Saxony, thus creating Winter Wonderland and some adventures Biking through the deep snow. Nevertheless, these shots are worth being printed on a Christmas Card, don’t you think? 🙂

Happy First Advent! 😀

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East German Era Bridge to be torn down after fire

apfelsinebr. flöha

1980s era bridge to be torn down because of fire damage despite having been rehabilitated. Fire under investigation.

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FLÖHA (SAXONY), GERMANY- Approximately 13 kilometers east of Chemnitz in the district of Mittelsachsen is the town of Flöha. With a population of 10,130 inhabitants, the city is located at the junction of the River Zschopau and the River Flöha and is loaded with dozens of historic bridges within the radius of 5 kilometers. This includes the Hetzdorf Viaduct, which is to the south and east of the city and used to carry the Dresden-Zwickau-Hof-Nuremberg Magistral Railroad.

One of the bridges that used to serve Flöha was the Apfelsinebrücke. Literally translated as the Orange Bridge because of its original color, the bridge was built in 1983, spanning the River Zschopau at Baumwolle Park and having served pedestrians for three decades. The bridge was recently rehabilitated at the cost of 223,000 Euros (ca. $260,000) as it was one of the last structures to have been damaged by floodwaters in 2013.

Sadly though, the steel deck plate girder is coming down- victim of a fire, which has caused anger among the city council members in Flöha and has gotten police and criminal investigators involved as to finding out what happened to the bridge. According to information by the Chemnitz Free Press and supported by German public channel MDR,  the fire broke out on the bridge on Friday at around 3:00pm, sending smoke up to 500 meters high, making it visible to as far west as Chemnitz. Because of its thickness and wind, residents were ordered to keep all windows and forms of ventilation closed until the fire was under control. Fire crews from Flöha and nearby Falkenau battled the blaze for over an hour, which caused telephone lines to go dead as well as power outage to houses nearby due to wiring going across the bridge. When the fire was finally put out, the spans had partially collapsed. “The fire has bent the steel to a point that the bridge cannot be saved,” says  Volker Holuscha , the mayor of Flöha during an interview with the Free Press. Given the extensive damage of the fire, especially because of high temperature caused by the flame, the incident is being investigated. In the meantime, the city is seeking a plan to replace the structure as soon as possible and will be removing the bridge once the investigation is finished. The fire spells a tragic end to a structure that was loved by many locals in Flöha, especially as the city had spent money to keep it in place for generations to come. Now the fire has burned the project up in smoke. It can only be hoped that a newer bridge that will come will be sturdier and better secured to ensure such a fire will never happen again……

 

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