Bridging the Gap: Bridges (2 Min Read)
Let’s cross some historic bridges and their unforgettable past!!
Latin Bridge: Sarajevo- The assassination here was the cause of the Word War I
Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated at the northern end of this structure by Gavilro Princip, a Bosnian Serb who was just 19 years old. This assassination was the spark that lit the fuse to what would become the deadly war the world had ever known. There is a large museum nearby dedicated to the events of the dreadful war. Ironically during the Yugoslav era, the bridge was known as ‘Princip Bridge’.
Old Sava Bridge: Belgrade- A school teacher saved it from demolition during World War 2
Occupying German forces built the Old Sava Bridge in 1942, naming it Prinz Eugen. While the battle for the liberation of Belgrade was still raging in, Germans laid the explosives to destroy the bridge on retreat. However, Miladin Zaric, a primary school teacher spotted the opportunity when it was briefly unattended, to cut the already lit wires connected to the explosives. This bridge was one the very few bridges in Europe which the retreating Germans did not manage to destroy. For this extraordinary & selfless service, Zaric received gold & silver medal for bravery.
Aioi Bridge: Hiroshima- Infamously used as the aiming point for the atomic bomb
On 6th August, 1945- through a gap in the clouds over Hiroshima, the crew of Enola Bay (Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bomber) could easily make out the distinctive shape of the Aioi Bridge with its three arms. This was the aiming point for the first atomic bomb used in warfare. Although the bomb actually exploded 300 m away, the bridge was severely damaged, and was rebuilt after the war.
Glienicke Bridge: Germany- Bridge of Spies
Opened in 1907, this bridge crosses the Havel River, linking Berlin and Potsdam. During the cold war, as this portion of the Havel formed the border between West Berlin and East Germany, the bridge was used several times for the exchange of the captured spies. The 2015 Steven Spielberg film ‘Bridge of Spies’ was partly filmed here.
Ponte Vecchio Bridge:Florence- It has shops built along its length
It was once a common sight for the bridges in the bygone Roman Era to have shops built along their length. The Ponte Vecchio is one of the very few bridges left in the world that still features these. It had been destroyed by flood several times, but rebuilt each time. An interesting feature of this fascinating old structure is the number of padlocks attached to its railings.
Vizcaya Bridge:Spain- World’s first transporter’s bridge
This UNESCO World Heritage structure links the towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas in Northern Spain. The perfect combination of beauty & functionality: the bridge permits the people to cross the river while not disturbing the maritime traffic. It was designed by engineer Alberto Palacio, a disciple of Gustav Eiffel.
Edmund Pettus Bridge:USA- The scene of a famous confrontation in the history of Civil Rights Movement
On March 7th, 1965, several hundred activists began what was to be a 50 Mile march from Selma, Alabama to the capital in Montgomery. They were confronted and attacked by state troopers in this bridge, an event that came to be known as ‘Bloody Sunday’. Later a large contingent who were given federal court protection, successfully completed the march two weeks later.
15 July Martyrs Bridge: Istanbul- Linking the two Continents
This suspension bridge known as either the First Bridge or the Bosporus Bridge, links the European and Asian parts of Istanbul, on either side of the Bosporus Strait. It was given its present name in 2016 in memory of soldiers who were killed defending the bridge during an attempted coup that year.
Ponte Sant’ Angelo:Rome- It had been used by the Popes as a fortress
It was built across the river Tiber in Rome to link the centre of the city with the Emperor Hadrian’s newly constructed mausoleum. In 1535 Pope Clement VII authorised to collect toll from the pilgrims who were forced to use this bridge to reach St Peter’s Basilica.
The Bridge of No Return: South Korea & North Korea
Separating the two countries is 150 mile strip of land called the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and in the middle of all this is the Military Demarcation Line (MDL). A bridge was built across the MDL which was used in exchanging prisoners after the Korean war. The prisoners held were taken to the south end of the bridge and offered the choice to cross it or remain in South Korea. If they crossed it they were never to return, and this gave rise to the name “Bridge of No Return”. The crew of the USS Pueblo were the last prisoners to cross the bridge, in 1968. The bridge has not been used since 1976.
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