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With three rivers converging in Decin, this is a city of bridges. Many of them are of historical or technical interest.
The Old Town bridge was built between 1564 and 1569. This beautiful Renaissance landmark was originally adorned with a stone obelisk, now on view at the municipal museum. In 1714 it was replaced by a statuary grouping (the work of Michal Brokoff) depicting Bohemia’s patron saints Wenceslaus, Vitus, and John of Nepomuk. The Elbe Cycleroute bike trail runs across the bridge.
When the castle grounds were re-imagined in the Romantic style in the early nineteenth century, a tunnel was bored through the castle bluff (1808-1810) and later a chain footbridge (1829-1831) measuring 30 meters was built over the runoff from the castle pond. The bridge and tunnel connected the northern gardens with the southern grounds on Marian Meadow. The footbridge was one of the first of its kind in the Bohemian lands and is the only one that has been preserved in its original location. The bridge is suspended on one end from the rock of the castle bluff (anchored by ornamental lion heads) and on the other end from a portal of sandstone blocks. Today the bridge is a technical landmark.
Eighteen meters long and seven meters high, this little bridge was thrown across the Jilovsky River in 1561 by Günther von Bünau to expand his grazing pasture. And this is where it gets its name. Legend has it that Günther von Bünau approached the local farmers for help on the project, but they all refused him. So, out of spite, von Bünau had the bridge made with an extremely high arch, making it impossible to take a farm cart across. The actual reason for the unusual, two-and-a-half-meter arch is, however, rather more prosaic. It was meant to protect the bridge from flooding, which was a constant problem on the Jilovsky River. Until the 19th century, it was the only bridge across the river in this once far-flung part of town.
This steel bridge, with its 70,000 rivets, replaced the older Empress Elisabeth suspension bridge in 1933. That earlier bridge was erected in 1855 as a reliable means of connecting Decin with the left-bank settlement of Podmokly, which was on the rail line from Dresden to Prague that had opened in 1851. With the rise of automobile travel, the old suspension bridge was no longer able to handle the traffic. The decision was made to replace the bridge, but as a money-saving measure the original pillars upon which the old bridge stood were re-used. The contract was awarded to the Skoda works in Plzen and construction was completed practically without any interruption in service. The switch was made on December 9, 1933. At 8:00 am traffic was stopped, and in just four hours, using hand winches in sub-zero temperatures of 16°C the bridge was moved into place and secured. That very afternoon the new bridge opened. It bears the name of Decin’s native son Miroslav Tyrs, co-founder of the Sokol fitness movement. At the time of its construction, Tyrs Bridge was the largest one of its kind in Czechoslovakia.
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