The Bridges of Europe Part 5 – Eastern Europe

Having already written about bridges in Southern, Northern & Central Europe as well as the UK, it is now time for the East of the continent.

My classification of Eastern Europe is pretty much behind the old Iron Curtain (minus Prague which I pinched for Central Europe), stretching as far as the Caucasus Mountains.

Budapest, Hungary

The mighty Danube flows through the Hungarian capital, and whilst it may not be quite as blue as Johann Strauss would have you believe, it still makes for an impressive site.

I have visited three times, firstly in 1992 and again in 2006 & briefly in 2011 before catching an overnight train to Bucharest.

The 2006 visit coincided with events to mark the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising that took place in October & November 1956.

What started as a student protest against the Soviet backed regime, ended with over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops being killed and around 200,000 Hungarians fleeing as refugees.

The iconic Széchenyi Chain Bridge across the Danube was a key location for the poignant displays that marked the tumultuous event.

The dead leaves that you can see represent the victims of the uprising.

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge has been linking Buda with Pest since 1849 and is has become a symbol of the twin cities that joined to make one.

Széchenyi Chain Bridge With Parliament Building in the Distance, Budapest, Hungary
Széchenyi Chain Bridge With Parliament Building in the Distance

Built in 1894 as part of the series of ceremonies organised to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the arrival of the Magyars in the Carpathian Basin, the Liberty Bridge (or Szabadság Bridge) is the other main central bridge, situated near to the famous Hotel Gelert.

Liberty Bridge, Budapest Hungary
Liberty Bridge

I also took the shots below from up high, the first of which features four bridges if you look hard enough.

Budapest Bridges, Hungary
Danube, Budapest, Hungary

New Bridge, Budapest

Apparently there is to be a smart new bridge built across the Danube. Currently known as Galvani Bridge. The design has been chosen though I do not think that work has started yet. See Hungary News.

Galvani (New) Bridge, Budapest
Galvani (New) Bridge, Budapest

Riga, Latvia

I have loved both of my visits to the Latvian capital that straddles the Daugava River.

The Baltic city has several fine road and rail bridges as you can see below.

Vanšu Bridge, Riga, Latvia
Vanšu Bridge, Riga

The Vanšu Bridge opened in 1981 whilst Latvia was very much part of the Soviet Union.

Aerial View of Riga from St Stephen's Tower
Aerial View of Riga from St Stephen’s Tower

Riga’s only railway bridge was finished in 1914 and badly damaged in both World Wars, and subsequently repaired.

Railway Bridge, Riga
Railway Bridge, Riga
Railway Bridge, Riga

Finally from Riga, the central Stone Bridge that provides the main tram thoroughfare into the city.

Stone Bridge, Riga
Stone Bridge, Riga

Tbilisi, Georgia

I have visited Tbilisi twice, in 2015 and 2019, and loved it both times.

It is easy to walk high up above the city to get some great views.

River Kura & The Bridge of Peace, Tbilisi
River Kura & The Bridge of Peace, Tbilisi

The pedestrian Bridge of Peace opened in 2010 as a symbol of the independent Georgia. Within its frame sit thousands of LED lights that illuminate it in different colours all night long.

Bridge of Peace, Tbilisi, Georgia
Crossing The Bridge of Peace Lit In Georgian Colours
Tbilisi At Night
River Kura & The Bridge of Peace At Night, Tbilisi
Bridge of Peace Bridge, Tbilisi
Bridge of Peace Bridge, Tbilisi

Sarajevo & Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

The small stone bridge that crosses the unremarkable River Miljacka in Sarajevo is perhaps the most notorious in the world.

It was here that Gavrilo Princip murdered the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife as they we crossing in their horse-drawn carriage.

Gavrilo was a Bosnian Serb dissudant that wanted the Habsburg rulers to leave his country and the murder of the heir to the Habsburg throne was to spark the chain of events that effectively started WWI.

Archduke Ferdinand's Least Favourite Bridge, Sarajevo
Archduke Ferdinand’s Least Favourite Bridge, Sarajevo

There is another bridge in Central Sarajevo that is quite unusual, reminding me of a toy racetrack I used to have as a kid.

Sarajevo Bridge
‘Loop the Loop Bridge’

The Ottoman Bridge in Mostar

I visited Mostar during a trip to the former Yugoslavia in October 2007.

What a wonderful place, which has bounced back from a troubled past to become a thriving compact city once more.

This is typified by its famous bridge over the River Neretva, which was completely destroyed in the ’90s conflict but has been built back up block by block to its former glory using much of the stone from the original structure that had been built by the Ottomans in the 16th century.

You can view a short video that shows a member of Mostar’s diving club plunging 24 metres into the water. Click DIVE to view.

Diving From The Bridge, Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovena
Diving From The Bridge, Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Here is a photo of the destroyed bridge that I photographed when I visited.

The Destroyed Ottoman Bridge, Mostar
The Destroyed Ottoman Bridge
Ottoman Bridge, Mostar

Skopje, North Macedonia

I have visited Skopje twice – the first time in 2006 and the second time a decade later.

In the intervening years, the capital of North Macedonia underwent a complete (and hideous) transformation.

In 2006 a single stone footbridge linked the bland new town with the vibrant & eclectic old town. Stone Bridge, though modified and repaired many times over the years, was erected in the 15th Century.

Ancient Stone Bridge, Skopje in 2006
Stone Bridge – The Only Bridge in 2006

A single road bridge was also sufficient to cross the Vardar River in the centre.

Road Bridge, Skopje, North Macedonia
Road Bridge, Skopje 2006

On my 2016 visit, I was horrified to find half a dozen footbridges festooned with statues and ornate/tacky lamp posts.

New Bridge & Building, Skopje
New Bridge & Building, Skopje
Skopje Statues On A New Bridge
Skopje Statues On A New Bridge

What were they thinking?

Belgrade, Serbia

The capital of Serbia sits on the confluence of two rivers – the Sava and the Danube.

The Ada Bridge over the Sava opened in January 2012, causing much controversy due to the construction costs spiralling out of control.

Ada Bridge, Belgrade
Ada Bridge, Belgrade
Belgrade, Sava River From The Castle - Ada & Railway Bridges In The Background
Sava River From The Castle – Ada & Railway Bridges In The Background

Prizren, Kosovo

Prizren in Kosovo’s second city and the photo below was taken in 2016 after we travelled there by bus from Tirana in neighbouring Albania.

It was taken from high up at Prizren Castle and features the ancient stone bridge over the River Bistrica, as well as the main mosque.

Prizren, Kosovo, View From The Castle
Prizren, Kosovo, View From The Castle

And here is a picture of the bridge from ground level.

Stone Bridge & Prizren Mosque, Kosovo

Tsarevets, Bulgaria

I will finish with a small but pretty bridge near Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.

Tsarevets Bridge, Bulgaria

Coming next – Bridges of France

One comment

  1. A really good selection here Will. My favourite bridge in Budapest would have to be Liberty Bridge, Visiting Mostar is somewhere I will never forget (hopefully).

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