The next Pic of the Week takes us to Saxony and to the town of Lauter-Bernsbach, located between Aue and Schwarzenberg in the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge). The town has two covered bridges spanning the River Schwarzwasser. This is one of them. It’s a covered bridge that accompanies a mill, which has long since been abandoned. It’s located near the train station Lauter and can be seen from the highway bridge that carries Bernsbacher Strasse. The bridge appears to have been dated back to about a century ago. Judging by its abandonment, it appears to have been closed off for at least a couple decades. Still, with some extensive work, the crossing would be a great asset for pedestrians and cyclists, who wish to use this crossing instead of the highway bridge, from which this photo was taken in September 2018.
SCHLUNZIG/ MOSEL/GLAUCHAU (SAXONY)- When driving on Highway B 93 between Glauchau and Zwickau, one will see its H-shaped towers. When biking along the Mulde Bike Trail, one will be amazed at the red, white and blue colors the bridge has to offer, its sleek, cable-stayed design and how it is well-integrated into the landscape. A platform offers a splendid view of the River Zwickau Mulde. A picnic by the bridge in the field, wonderful. A photographer’s dream. For a bridgehunter, another of many suspension bridges to see along the river and to write about. For the town of Schlunzig, an icon that replaced a communist era structure that was bland, worn out and no longer able to carry today’s traffic. For commuters looking for a short cut to the VW company in Mosel, they got their route back.
Since last Friday, the Schlunzig CSB has opened to all traffic. At the cost of 7.5 million Euros, the town of Schlunzig got more than what it bargained for, when it replaced the 60+ year old bridge with the structure that appeals to all commuters and tourists. That structure, which was torn down when the realignment project started in March of this year, had sustained extensive damage due to the 2013 floods, making rehabiltation unrealistic. It took over three years to complete the bridge, part of it had to do with the delay in the shipment of cables but also with the winter weather in 2017-18. Covid-19 helped make up for lost time due to next to no traffic plus safety precautions needed to ensure the workers were not infected. In the end, we have a four-lane bridge. Of which we have two for cars which can now cross at 50 km/h (before the old structure was torn down, it was only 30). The outer lanes are for bikes on the south side, and pedestrians on the north side. As a bonus, the bridge is lit up at night. One photographer had some evidence in his photos submitted to Glauchau-City’s facebook site:
While the grand opening only had a handful of people due to Covid-19 and the social distancing guidelines, for district administrator, Christoph Scheurer, this is his third bridge over the Zwickau Mulde that he opened to traffic in his nearly 30 years working for the District Zwickau. For him, this is the most beautiful of the bridges, according to a statement in the Free Press.
Having traveled there with my family for Children’s Day, I have to agree. I’ve seen virtually every bridge, including the suspension bridges along the Zwickau Mulde in the four years of bridgehunting in this area. While many cable-stayed bridges are considered hideous by many in the pontist community, I find this bridge is one of the fanciest of the modern bridges I’ve seen in Germany to date. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but it does need to have a design that will conform to the landscape and city scape. Concrete beam bridges don’t have that taste, which was one of the factors that led to this design being chosen. The bridge will be competition with the likes of the Lunzenau Pedestrian Bridge, as well as bridges in Wolkenburg, Wechselberg and Rochsburg in terms of their design and tourist appeal. But it will also serve as a complement to the structures that have existed along the Mulde for at least a half century, including the Paradiesbrücke and Röhrensteg in Zwickau, the Göhren Viaduct, and the Grimma Suspension Bridge, just to name a few. With a wide variety of structures spanning over three centuries, the bridges along the Zwickau Mulde is becoming a major attraction for bridgehunters, cyclists, tourists and passersby alike. One day a book will have to be made on them and their history. Chances are more than likely it will be a smash hit, especially if written in German and English. 😉
And after designing some bridges for T-shirts, this bridge will be the next one to add and some ideas for it I have. Stay tuned. 🙂
Over 115-year old crossing over the Zwickau Mulde will be torn down beginning June 6. Replacement Bridge to be completed by End of November
LUNZENAU (SAXONY), GERMANY- One can see the bridge from the Göhren Railway Viaduct. The structure and the viaduct itself were once a photographer’s dream, especially because of its unique setting along the River Zwickau Mulde. Now the historic Waldcafé Bridge will become a memory.
The Waldcafé Bridge is a single span stone arch bridge with open spandrels resembling mini-arches. It was built in 1904 and has a total length of 60 meters and a width of 7 meters. The bridge carries State Highway 242. The bridge was recognized in the book Steinbrücken in Deutschland (Stone Bridges in Germany), which has a short summary on the historic structure. It was also listed as a technical monument by the Saxony Ministry for the Protection of Historic and Cultural Places (Denkmalschutz).
Workers are prepping for the removal of the historic bridge and replacing it with a more modern structure. After installing a temporary footbridge over the river, the bridge will fall victim to the diggers. The project to replace the span will last from now until the end of November, pending on the situation with the weather and the Corona Virus. The footbridge will provide direct access to the Waldcafé from the parking area on the southern end of the bridge, which will be a relief for business owners who had already taken a hit from the loss of customers because of Covid-19 but also the cyclists who otherwise would have been forced to detour via Lunzenau or Wechselberg. The cost for the whole project is estimated to be at approximately 220,000 Euros.
When work on the new bridge is finished, tourists and commuters will see a modern bridge that is wider and safer for use. Yet its historic flavor will be missed, Especially if one sees the new structure from the viaduct.
Phantom Bridge Stories:In connection with the BHC’s 10th anniversary special, stories and photos are being taken for the next theme in the bridgehunter series. This one has to do with Phantom Bridges. These are historic bridges that used to carry a major road but have been closed down for many years. These are abandoned structures that can be found in wooden settings and present a haunting feeling when visiting it. The question I have is what is your phantom bridge or your favorite story involving visiting a phantom bridge? A couple examples are presented in the article, including a film by Satolli Glassmeyer from History in Your Backyard. Please send your stories and photo to Jason Smith at the Chronicles, using the contact info you can find here.
This Pic of the Week takes us back to Glauchau and a site where no one really expected this- a work of art that doesn’t need any type of bracing for support. This photo was taken during our walk on Easter Sunday and is that of the Hirschgrundbrücke at the Castle Complex. Since October 2018, the bridge had been rebuilt, piece by piece under a coat of steel scaffolding. Since the beginning of April, the cranes have disappeared and it was only the decking that needs to be finished on the bridge. Still, the scaffolding was covering the bridge for many days.
On this day, the bridge was presented in its former glory- stone bridge with its four arches; the photo taken just as the trees were about to blossom with flowers and leaves and the ground was about to become greener. It looked like the bridge has arisen, as much as Jesus had arisen from the dead- both coming back to life to bring good tidings and love to the people. The difference, the bridge is here to stay while Jesus blessed it because of its beauty and its attachment to the castle and the nature that surrounds it. It was a real treat to see the bridge again after almost two years of absence. And while the old structure could’ve been a great bridge of vegetation, like the one in Massachusetts, this structure will again connect history with nature- the castle and the park will again be one. And one that can be seen from the main street heading into the city center. ❤ 🙂
The decking is almost finished and work will then include the south approach, which is a meter higher than the bridge itself. The plan is to make a ramp to allow for pedestrians and the handicapped to cross the structure. At the same time, a new park south of the bridge is being constructed to provide visitors with some nature and recreation. That area used to have garden houses before the property was completely razed in December, last year. While CoVid 19 has delayed numerous construction projects globally, this project, weather permitting, is expected to be finished well before the deadline of the end of June. The reason: Despite the lockdown in the state of Saxony, some construction projects were allowed to continue but using safety guidelines to ensure nobody was infected with the virus.
The Chronicles will keep you updated on the latest with this project, including the grand opening of the bridge and park complex. Stay tuned. 🙂
The next bridge tour takes us to the central part of the German state of Saxony. Yet there we would refer to that region as being Chemnitz and the surrounding area. Unfortunately we have to go another 30 kilometers to the north and east, past the nearest cities of Mittweida and Burgstadt to get to this small town known as Waldheim.
When passing through the community of Waldheim, with its population of approximately 8,300 inhabitants, the first impression would be that the community is just a typically small town that is tucked away deep into the steep hills of the River Zschopau. It does have a small town square that is shaped like a triangle when going past it, yet it is one where the historic buildings, many of which are between 100 and 150 years old, have been restored to their original form. This includes its famous city hall next to the Zschopau River crossing, which was built over 200 years ago and is still in use today. Many associate Waldheim with its famous castle, which was mentioned in 1271 and was converted to a penitentiary in 1716. Many well-known people, such as Karl May, were imprisoned there for an unspecified period of time. It was also used by the Nazis during World War II, many of whom in turn were put into prison, with some of them executed, by the Soviets in 1950 during the year of the Waldheim Trials.
But ignoring the dark past of the prison, Waldheim does have two positive aspects that are worth noting: It has numerous parks as well as hiking and biking trails, which allows for people with a chance to see the town, as well as the hills and forests along the River Zschopau. Most importantly, though, Waldheim has a large number of historic bridges in and around the community. In fact, three railway viaducts and two bridges that are over a century and a half old each can be found directly in the city itself. One of the two bridges used to be a covered bridge with stone arch approaches. Two of the viaducts are still in service as region-trains operated by the MRB pass through Waldheim as they head to either Chemnitz or Riesa. The third one has been out of use but plans are in the works to make it a recreational crossing. Furthermore, one can find five more bridges to the south of Waldheim in the area of Kriebstein plus another seven more near the town of Limmritz. They include the railroad viaducts that once became part of the Bankrottmeile between Waldheim and the last railroad viaduct in Limmritz, before the Zschopau merges with the Freiberg Mulde. A few smaller road crossings in Meinsberg and Mimmritz rounds off the tour of the “bridge-enriched” region that few tourists pay attention to- but they should. 😉
With that in mind, the question is where are these bridges located and what do we know about them? Using Google Maps, photos from a pair of visits to the area and some information and facts from local sources, I’ve developed a tour guide so that when the next person takes a trip to the region, one should take some time and visit them. Keep in mind that Waldheim does have some excellent eateries in and around the city center, including one at the stone arch bridge in town. In case you need food and refreshments, plus a little entertainment, they are highly recommended. As parking is limited in the city center, it is best to sit your car in the parks nearby. Many of these bridges are easily accessible by bike or by foot, with a pair of exceptions.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at these structures in detail:
All you need to do is click onto one of the bridges and read up on the information. Each bridge has a series of photos which unless noted, have been taken by the photographer. To access them, just scroll down the information to the end and click on Photos. Enjoy the gallery. 🙂
The map also includes a hiking trail along the Bankrottmeile, a 7.5 kilometer stretch of line between Waldheim and Limmritz whose history can be found under fast fact and in the map.
The Waldheim Trials was the Soviet version of the Nuremberg Trials of 1946, held under the auspisces of the western allies of the US, Great Britain and France. The eastern version was held in the Waldheim prison and involved thousands of Nazi prisoners who were charged with various crimes. 3,400 of them were put into prison while 32 were executed. The Waldheim Trials was considered arbitrary for the chanrges, convictions and sentencing were all prepared well in advance of the prisoners being tried for their crimes.
The Chemnitz-Riesa Railroad Line was built from 1847 until its completion and opening in 1852. It’s considered one of the oldest operating rail lines in Germany. Apart from Waldheim, it passes through Mittweida and Döbeln, both nearby cities. The line has been electrified for over 30 years and has been used as a commuter route, for the MRB-Raillines and the Vogtlandbahn run services straight through, whereas the Chemnitz-Bahn Rail Services operates along the line only from Chemnitz to Mittweida. As many as ten viaducts were built for the line, two of them were filled in the 1990s. Six of the viaducts in and around the Waldheim-Limmritz area belong to the “Bankrottmeile”, where the cost for building the viaducts far outweighed the budget of the Chemnitz-Riesa line, resulting in the railroad company going into bankruptcy. The six bridges still stand today. In addition, two tunnels were built but were removed as part of the electrification project.
More information on the bridges of Waldheim can be found here:
Despite being on lockdown, we took an opportunity to go for a walk to get some fresh air, one of the few exceptions we were allowed to do. Since Monday we were only allowed to go shopping, go to a doctor or get some fresh air by walking or running as long as one is alone, with only one friend or with your family. We are blessed to have a castle and a park and pond which were only a kilometer from our house. And on a gorgeous Monday, we trekked to Grundel Park and Pond to tank up some vitamin D and enjoy the great outdoors.
As a bonus, we took a photo of Grundel Park Bridge, which connects the pond with an island. The structure is about a century old but its original predecessor was built in honor of Glauchau’s engineer, Heinrich Carl Hedrich, who not only built some bridges in the area, but became the first person who built the city water system for homes and businesses. The construction of the Flutgraben Canal encircling Glauchau also was to his name. The island has a monument on the opposite end of the bridge and a statue, both built in his honor. More on him will come later.
And as for the pic itself, on a sunny day with trees set to blossom, there’s nothing really much to say except this: