The Devil’s Bridge: Germany’s Sinister Architectural Marvel

Cross the threshold of The Devil’s Bridge, where legends echo in stone – Photo: Henning Herrmann | Flickr

Germany is full of incredible architectural feats. However, Rakotzbrücke is the only one named after the devil.

Rakotzbrücke is often called the Devil’s Bridge because of its somewhat sinister history. Local folklore says that the devil helped to build the bridge. He then offered to assist people across it on the condition that the first soul to cross belonged to him.

The bridge’s actual history is not as scary, but it’s still intriguing.

A knight from the local town of Kromlau commissioned the bridge. It was constructed from 1866 to 1875 and built using several different types of local stone.

What makes it so devilish? The bridge’s fascinating structure has caused many people to say the devil helped build it.

The bridge forms a perfect semicircle above the water, and its reflection in the water completes the circle. Similar bridges (ones that form a circle with the structure and its reflection) exist throughout Europe, including in Bulgaria and Italy.

Today, guests are prohibited from crossing the bridge (not because they’re at risk of selling their souls to the devil, but to protect and preserve the structure). The bridge underwent significant renovations to strengthen and conserve it a few years ago, but guests are still not allowed to walk across it.

For those interested in visiting the bridge, it’s best to go during the fall because you get the added benefit of seeing the leaves change (and see their brilliant colors reflected in the water). Kromlau Park, the location of the bridge, is in Eastern Germany and easily accessible by car.

While wandering through the 200-hectare park, visitors can experience some other exciting attractions, including one of the country’s largest rhododendron gardens and the Column of Hercules sculpture that sits right next to the bridge.

The park also hosts an annual Blossom Festival every year during Pentecost, which draws up to 35,000 visitors.