Bratislava has 5 bridges. Read about their history and check out their photos!
THE OLD BRIDGE
The first bridge over the Danube river in Bratislava has had many names, such as Bridge of Emperor Franz Josef, Štefánik’s Bridge or Bridge of the Red Army. Emperor Franz Josef opened it for the first time on 30th December 1890.
They built it using exclusively domestic materials from Austria-Hungary. The bridge had served for 45 years before being blown up by the retreating German army in 1945. The commies reconstructed it in 1946.
The most interesting fact is that after 124 years it has recently been reconstructed – the bridge was closed in 2008 and dismantled, then rebuilt and reopened in 2016. It now includes a tram track connecting Old Town with Petrzalka and serves both pedestrians and cyclists. The new Old Bridge now has a distinctive green color.
THE BRIDGE OF SLOVAK NATIONAL UPRISING / THE NEW BRIDGE
This bridge has survived hell of a lot name changes. The current name was originally valid until 1989, then renamed to New Bridge (Novy most) despite being the second oldest in Bratislava. In 2012, in commemoration of 40th anniversary of its opening and 68th anniversary of the national uprising, it got its original name back. Nevertheless, folks naturally call it UFO Bridge, due to the flying saucer-shaped folly at the top of the pylon. You are welcome to choose your favourite:)
This awesome bridge has several unique features. It is the only bridge in Bratislava (the first one in Slovakia and the second in the world) to have no pillars in the river that hold on steel ropes only. UFO is the only tower in the World Federation of Towers which serves as a pylon for such a construction. Our bridge even inspired Riga’s Gorky Bridge to built a copy of ours.
A couple of facts for arithmetical freaks – they built the SNP bridge in years 1967 – 1972, it is 431 metres long and 21 metres wide and connects Bratislava’s largest borough Petrzalka with the Old Town.
The flying saucer hosts the UFO watch.taste.groove restaurant, situated in the altitude of 85 metres. You will get there by the elevator in one of the askew arms of the pylon. Sip a cocktail and enjoy the splendid view of the Old Town as well as of Petrzalka’s concrete panelak buildings.
THE HARBOUR BRIDGE (PRÍSTAVNÝ MOST)
The Harbour Bridge stands in the most eastern part of Danube’s riverfront, close to Bratislava’s cargo river harbour – hence its name. They built it between 1977 – 1985. It has two floors with double function of the road and railway bridge. It is usually quite busy and serves as the only railway bridge in Bratislava.
THE LAFRANCONI BRIDGE
The Lafranconi Bridge is the first bridge made out of concrete. It stands in the most western part of Danube’s riverfront. They started building it in 1985 and finished in 1991.
It is part of the capital’s by-pass highway and has a multi-lane road towards Vienna in Austria from the northern bank of Danube and towards Brno in Czech Republic from the southern bank of Danube. It stretches over the river in the length of 800 metres and therefore represents the longest bridge in Bratislava.
The Apollo Bridge carries its name after the “Apollo” oil refinery (predecessor of Slovnaft) which used to lie on the left river bank in this area before World War II and became a target of aerial bombing of American airplanes in 1944. They opened the bridge on the 4th September 2005 and its construction, starting in 2003, took 30 months. The project of this bridge was however created longer time ago, in 1973.
It is a popular bridge thanks to its shape, colour of used materials and fancy illuminance at night. Its curved lines, inclined arches and sheer absence of right angles make the geometric shape of the bridge very sophisticated. It is unique thanks to the technique of its offset. In an unprecedented maneuver, the 5,240-ton steel structure, spanning for 231 metres, was rotated across the river from its construction site on the left bank into its final position on a pillar 40 metres from the right bank.
The Apollo Bridge was the only European project named one of five finalists for the 2006 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OPAL Award) by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Bonus pictures at the end :)