There are plenty of Devil’s Bridges throughout all Europe but the Rakotzbrücke inside the Natural Park of Kromlau is probably the most known as well as photographed one.
Most of the Devil’s bridges were built up in the Middle Ages as well as shortly after (1000-1600) and in France only there are 49 bridges. However many others can be found in Italy, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Estonia, Romania, Bulgaria and outside Europe.
In Italy we can remember the “Ponte della Maddalena around Borgo a Mozzano in Lucca, the one of Tolentino in Macerata, of the island Torcello in Venice,the one of Bobbio,of Cividale del Friuli, the one of Tolentino many more spread all around the country.
Below: Devil’s Bridge Rakotzbrücke. Picture by A.Landgraf via Wikipedia
Rakotzbrücke is located in the biggest Saxony park the “Azaleen- und Rhododendronpark Kromlau” (azalea and rohododendron Kromlau Park ), 120 km from Dresden, next to the Polish border. The Park was built in the 19th century by Friedrich Hermann Rotschke, knight of Kromlau and nature lover and it represents a perfect example of English garden, with lots of ponds and lakes.
Despite the natural beauty, its main attraction remains the bridge, extremely accessible due to a nearby car park.
Below: the commemorative plaque of Rotschke. Picture shared via Wikipedia – licence creative commons
The bridge creates a perfect circle when the reflection shows up underneath. As someone could expect, the Rakotzbrücke has its own legend linked to the Devil.
The Bridge Legend
The architect who designed the bridge made a deal with the devil: he would have realised a unique bridge, but the first soul of the first living being passing through it would have gone to hell. The cunning architect took in the Devil by sending a dog as a first being passing there.
Another story explains how, whoever is going to pass underneath it with a sailboat during a full moon night, they will find out about their mystical skills contained within themselves.
Picture by svolks shared via Wikipedia – license creative commons
Other versions support the idea that, if you look from a certain perspective, the bridge will reveal the Devil’s face, whereas others claim that the bridge itself is a portal towards another world.
Obviously all those legends contribute to enhance the mysticism connected to this wonderful architectonic opera. The construction is in fact just half of a circle, and the other half is represented by its own reflection in the water, creating this suggestive illusion. If you are planning on visiting Rakotzbrücke make sure to check the opening times as the structure is not always open in order to preserve it for the upcoming generations.