Monstrous, Angelic, Unusual Bridge Sculptures

Link - article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams

Monstrous, Angelic or Just Plain Weird - Unusual Bridge Sculptures, Part One

There are bridges in every country, all over the world, each one serving a very functional purpose, so it's nice to know that some of the planet’s bridges at least have that little bit extra to make them stand out. Here at Dark Roasted Blend, we take our first look at some of the more interesting, awe-inspiring, intriguing or simply bizarre bridge sculptures and decorations from across the globe.

(Griffin and eagle sculptures on the Moltkebrucke, Berlin - images via Andy Jordan, Guy, Mel & Ives Papstein)

The Fremont Troll is located under the north end of the Aurora Bridge in Seattle, Washington. The concrete creature is clutching a VW Beetle, which it presumably caught after the enormous troll first appeared under the bridge in 1990:

(image credit: Norse)

The Charles Bridge in Prague is familiar to any one who has lived in or visited the city. The bridge is decorated with thirty baroque statues, fifteen on each side, dating from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Damage caused to the statues over many years has resulted in many of the originals being replaced by copies. Here we see Saints Norbert of Xanten, Saint Wenceslas and Saint Sigismund (left image below):

(left image credit: Mark L. Darby, right: Suzanne Matrosov-Vruggink)

On the right image above we see the statue of St. John of Nepomuk. After he was murdered, seven stars supposedly appeared over the spot where St. John’s body thrown in the river. These stars form the statue’s halo. It may be too late for poor St. John, but apparently, if you touch the statue and make a wish, your wish will come true and a return trip to Prague is guaranteed as well. Worth a try, I’d say:

(image credit: Amy)

The statue of the crucifix and Calvary has a history going back to the medieval period and had undergone a number of changes since that time. It also has the distinctive golden Hebrew text on the cross itself. The statues depict the Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist (left image below):

(left image credit: Paul Burgoyne; right: Sage)

Also in Prague, the Cechuv Bridge was built in 1908. Two sculptures depicting fire bearers are on one side (right image above) - while there are statutes of multiple-headed hydras on the other (left image below). On the right is one of four bronze female sculptures of Genius by Antonína Poppa on the same bridge:

(images credit: Steve Thoroughgood, Andrew)

Located in Ljubljana, Slovenia, this bridge was originally named The Jubilee Bridge of the Emperor Franz Josef, in honour of the Habsburg ruler of the area when the structure was finished in 1901. However, it soon became known as the Dragon Bridge because of the four statues at each corner. One legend states that Greek mythological hero Jason founded the city of Ljubljana, where the Argonauts fought a killed a ferocious dragon, hence the statues... According to a local legend, the dragons will wag their tails when a virgin crosses the bridge! No indication if this has happened as yet, so stay tuned:

(images credit: Yan Vugenfirer)

Right image above: another weird dragon climbs the gate of the Ljubljana castle... he does seem really malnourished.

Also in Ljubljana, Butcher’s Bridge was first planned in the 1930s, but the project was shelved during World War II and only recently completed. Not long after it was opened, padlocks started to appear on the bridge’s steel wires. The locks were left there by couples in love, no doubt symbolizing their mutual devotion. Some of the locks are inscribed with names and dates, very romantic. Perhaps these are the skulls of the dragons slain by Jason and his Argonauts? -

(image credit: Bryce Edwards)

(image credit: Monica Spitzer)

This satyr is one of the larger sculptures There are some smaller ones depicting frogs and shellfish, as well as larger sculptures of Prometheus and Adam and Eve:

(image credit: Abaz Beganovic)

Here’s the Frog Bridge of Willimantic in Connecticut, also known as the Thread City Crossing. The four frogs are eleven feet tall and sit on top of spools of thread:

(image credit: Jim McElroy)

These are the new Highway Sculptures on the 24th Street Bridge in Council Bluffs, Iowa:

(image credit: S. C. Hargis Photography)

Here’s one of the four lions guarding the Washington’s Taft Bridge. The original ones were built in 1907, but deteriorated so much over the years that were replaced with duplicates in 2000 (left image). The sculptures on the Michigan Avenue Bridge in Chicago, dating from 1928, depict important events in the city’s history, such as the pioneers and early settlers in the area (right):

(left image credit: Kevin Anderson, Wally Gobetz)

The Pont Alexander III in Paris was built between 1896 and 1900 and is decorated with numerous statues. The columns at each end of the bridge feature gilded bronze statues of winged horses. On the right: a girl sits in a giant shell with a fish at her side, while holding another shell to her ear:

(images credit: Dominic, Karin McVicar)

The angelic creature on the left looks like its ready to attack:

(images credit: Avi Abrams)

The bridge also sports a marvelous little golden lizard:

(image credit: Avi Abrams)

These rather striking sculptures can be found on a bridge spanning the Coventry Canal in the UK:

(image credit: Steve Hey)

The Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome spans the Tiber in front of the Castel Sant’Angelo. The bridge features ten monumental statues of angels crafted by Bernini and his students:

(images credit: George Reader)

Each statue carries a symbol of Christ's passion:

(image via)

Baratashvili Bridge in Tbilisi, Georgia, was named in honour of Georgian romantic poet Nikoloz Baratashvili. It is also sometimes called the ‘Bridge of Love’ and the railings are decorated with bronze statues of romantic couples:

(images credit: Anna Barkhudarova)

The Green Bridge in Vilnius, Lithuania has four huge Soviet-era sculptures, which are the only communist monuments left in the city centre. The four sculptures at the bridge corners represent Agriculture, Guarding Peace, Industry and Construction, and Youth and Education. All very inspiring for the people, of course:

(images credit: FaceMePls)

The Anichkov Bridge in St. Petersburg is decorated with four equestrian sculptures, depicting the different stages in the taming of a horse. During World War II, the sculptures were removed from the bridge and buried, to protect them during the German attack and siege of the city (left image).

(images credit: Jens Jeppe, 2)

Also in St. Petersburg these griffins adorn Bank Bridge (right image above). If you ever visit, be sure to rub a griffin’s paw, so you can become rich. Hey, you can’t argue with a local legend like that.

The Lugou Bridge in Beijing is also known as the Marco Polo Bridge. Almost a thousand years old, the bridge has two rows of carved stone lions on top of the walls. There are over 500 (!) of them and no two lions are alike, all having different expressions:

(image credit: 1, 2)

This weird looking statue is on a bridge in Takayama, Gifu in Japan:

(images via)

Speaking of various animals on bridges, this bridge sports a... hamster! On the right is also an interesting bird figure:

(images credit: Hajo)

Here is a very cute "Kappa Soup" turtle, spotted on the bridge in Yokohama, Japan:

(image credit: Toshihiro Oimatsu)

And finally, we have this somewhat bizarre creation is on the Cavenagh Bridge in Singapore. The image of children jumping into the river below has probably taken many an unsuspecting visitor by surprise over the years.

(image via)



(all images are copyright and by permission of their respective owners)


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Blogger Thadeus said...

Html troubles, sorry, try this:
Bat-gargoyles at Valencia, Reino de Valencia Bridge

Blogger bunnyhugger said...

Your are showing the wrong brass for St. John of Nepomuk. A lot of tourists get it wrong too, which explains the shiny dog.

Anonymous Rick Sarvas said...

I'm amazed to see the Frog Bridge on DRB - I drive over it every morning on the way to work.

Need more pictures?

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Emily, thanks for this info. It seems like there are several brass plates under the statue - we show one, here is another one: http://tinyurl.com/ambmylm (which also has a shiny spot)


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