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Wroclaw - the City of Bridges

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Wroclaw - picturesquely situated on 12 islands connected by 112 bridges - is often referred to as ‘’Lower Silesian Venice.’’ Before World War II within the city boundaries there were as many as 303 bridges and footbridges. Nowadays taking into account modern criteria i.e. all the river bridges, canal bridges, footbridges over the railway tracks and the streets, there are about 220 of them.
 
Of all the bridges Grunwaldzki Bridge is the most popular one and can be often found on the postcards of Wroclaw. It is one of the emblems of the city. This suspended bridge was erected in 1908 – 1910. Its name changed over the years – first it was called the Emperor’s Bridge and then renamed into the Freedom Bridge.
 
Nearby there is Zwierzyniecki Bridge – almost as popular as Grunwaldzki Bridge – connecting the city with the Zoological Gardens (one of the oldest in Europe) and Szczytnicki Park (the oldest park of Wroclaw).
 
Another bridge which has been the theme of numerous paintings and postcards of the city is Tumski Bridge. It has been a historical monument since 1976. It was constructed in1889 on the site of an old wooden bridge. The bridge joins Cathedral Island to Sand Island and used to be regarded as the borderline between the municipal jurisdiction (on Sand Island) and the church jurisdiction (on Cathedral Island). On one of the edges of the bridge there are two sculptures: one of St. Hedwig and the other one of John the Baptist. Both were made by Gustaw Grunenberg, prominent sculptor of  Wroclaw.
 
The oldest bridge in the city is Sand Bridge (Most Piaskowy) whose origins go back as far as 1149. Due to its location it was once called Bridge by Blessed Virgin Mary or St. Mary’s Bridge. In its present shape the bridge was constructed in the 1860s.
 
Most bridges of Wroclaw are named in connection with their location, which was not the case in the past. Osobowicki Bridge is a good example. It was previously named ‘’Gröschelbrücke’’ as the toll equal to 2 pfenigs = groschel (colloquially) was charged for crossing the bridge.
 
There are also twin-bridges in Wroclaw. Some of them are worth mentioning here. The first ones are Trzebnickie Bridges which consist of two bridges: the northern one and the southern one. They replaced an old wooden bridge. They are situated in the northern part of the city and link Wroclaw with Trzebnica. Since the flood of the millennium (1997) a steel cross has shown the highest level the river reached.
 
Mieszczańskie Bridges  are also twin-bridges, the older one of which dating from 1876 was once called Wilhelmsbrücke after the German emperor Wilhelm. It is not used any longer and is regarded as an engineering monument. One more interesting thing is that there is a plaque on Mieszczanskie Bridges in honour of the joint efforts of the people of Wroclaw fighting heroically  againsthe flood of the millennium (1997). Similarly, on the University Bridge one can see a monument – a girl holding a pile of books on her shoulders – in honour of all the volunteers who were also actively engaged in fighting the flood.
 
The latest bridge built in the city is Millennium Bridge erected in 2004. It is the only bridge in the post-war history of the city. The bridge has been awarded for its innovative construction.
 
 

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