Rakotzbrücke (English: Rakotz Bridge) is an arch-shaped bridge in the Azalea and Rhododendron Park Kromlau, a 200 acres (81 ha) landscaped park in the municipality of Gablenz, Saxony, Germany. The park and the bridge built in the 19th century. Like many other spooky bridges in Europe, it’s nicknamed The Devil’s Bridge.
The Rakotzbrücke (also known as Teufelsbrücke, the Devil’s Bridge) was specifically built in 1860 as a semi-circle, to complete a full circle when it is reflected in the waters beneath it. If you catch the right angle of view, you will see a very beautiful and amazing illusion of a complete stone circle.
The bridge’s artificially-formed basalt columns were specially shipped from distant quarries.
The park has no entry fee and can be accessed at any time. But, in order to preserve it, today, crossing the bridge is prohibited.
Why it was nicknamed the devil’s bridge?
Rakotzbrücke is nicknamed the “devil’s bridge” because of the belief that the magical circle must be the hands of the devil. There are also other (more than a hundred) Devil’s bridges in Europe as well. In only France, there are 49 Devil’s Bridges!
Each of the Devil’s bridges typically has a corresponding Devil-related myth or folktale regarding its origin. Most of these bridges are stone or masonry arch bridges and represent a significant technological achievement in ancient architecture.
Some have the Devil as the builder of the bridge, relating to the precariousness or impossibility of such a bridge to last or exist in the first place, so much so that only the Devil himself could have built it. Others have the knowledge to build such bridges given to humankind as a gift from the Devil as part of the deal, pact, or bargain between the Devil and the local populace, usually in exchange for their souls.
Rakotzbrücke falls into that second group. According to a local legend, it was built by a night named Friedrich with the help of Satan himself.
To photograph the bridge with a perfect circular reflection, the best time is spring or Autumn. In winter, the lake underneath the bridge usually gets frozen and covered with snow, which makes it hard to see the reflections. In summer, there might be no water at all.
In autumn, the foliage adds an element of wonder to the already surreal view.
You may wonder if it’s worth making the trip to Kromlau to see Rakotzbrücke. The answer is yes because this bridge is just too beautiful not to be seen.
You can also visit Muskau Park nearby, the largest and one of the most famous English gardens in Central Europe. It was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in July 2004. It is a cross-border cultural collaboration between Poland and Germany. It covers 3.5 square kilometers (1.4 sq mi) of land in Poland and 2.1 km2 (0.81 sq mi) in Germany. It extends on both sides of the Neisse river, which constitutes the border between the countries.
The park also stands as one of Poland’s official Historic Monuments, as designated May 1, 2004, and tracked by the National Heritage Board of Poland.
- “Rakotzbrücke: The Devil’s Bridge in Germany” on the Swedish Nomad website
- “Visiting Rakotzbrücke Devil’s Bridge, Saxony Germany” on the Whole World is a Playground website
- Devil’s Bridge on Wikipedia
- Rakotzbrücke Devil’s Bridge on Atlas Obscura
- Muskau Park on Wikipedia
- Rakotzbrücke: The Devil’s Bridge in Germany on Christine Abroad website