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The “Bridge of the Devil” Rakotzbrücke is a fantastic optical illusion.

3 min read

There are many “Devil’s bridges” in Europe, but the Rakotzbrücke located in the Kromlau Nature Park, Germany, is probably the best known and most spectacular of them all. Most of the European “devil” bridges were built in the Middle Ages and immediately thereafter, between about 1,000 and 1,600, and, only in France, there are 49. This Bridges are easily and frequently found throughout all Europe, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Estonia, Romania and Bulgaria, but also in other countries outside Europe.

The Rakotzbrücke is located in the largest park in Saxony, the “Azaleen- und Rhododendronpark Kromlau” (park of azaleas and rhododendrons of Kromlau), about 120 kilometers from Dresden, on the border with Poland. The park was built during the 19th century by Friedrich Hermann Rotschke, a knight of Kromlau and a nature lover. The park is a beautiful example of an English garden, with many small ponds and lakes, but its peculiarity is certainly the Devil’s Bridge, not far from the parking for cars.
The bridge creates a perfect circle when reflected in the waters of the pond below. Of course, and it could not be otherwise, also the Rakotzbrücke Bridge has its legend linked to the Devil.

According to the legend, architect who designed the bridge made a pact with the devil: he would have built a single bridge, but the first soul of the first living who would have crossed it would have ended up in hell. The astute architect made fun of Beelzebub, doing cross the bridge by a dog.
Another story tells that anyone who passes under it with a sailboat during a full moon night will discover the mystical skills contained within.
Other people says that, when viewed from a certain angle, the Bridge reveals the face of the Devil, while others claim that the bridge is itself a portal to another world.
Naturally, all these legends contribute only to increase mysticism linked to a beautiful architectural work. The bridge is in fact only half of a perfect circle, the other half is made by its reflection in the water, creating the illusion of a complete stone round. If you are planning a visit to the Rakotzbrücke inform yourself well about the openness and its actual viability: the bridge is not always open to the public in order to preserve it for future generations.

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