Friday, 17 October 2014
The Dresden 'Blue Wonder'
Das blaues Wonder is the common name for the Loschwitzer Bridge (until 1912 König-Albert-Brücke after King Albert of Saxony) connecting Dresden's affluent residential areas of Blasewitz and Loschwitz. It was completed in 1893 and is the fifth of Dresden's bridges crossing the Elbe.
At the time of its construction, building a cantilever bridge of such a length (it is 280m long and the central span is 146.8m) with only two piers was considered a wonder of engineering. It was also painted blue, hence its nickname. Though to be critical, I have seen bluer bridges.
In fact, many considered it a monstrosity and an eyesore at the time, especially the villa residents of Loschwitz (which was one of the most expensive areas of Europe to live in). So an ironic derivation of its nickname could be from the German idiom ein blaues Wunder erleben - to have an unpleasant surprise.
Nowadays it is a popular tourist attraction, and a place for Sunday family outings to come and feed the geese and swans.
The epithet of 'eyesore' is now bestowed upon the Waldschlößchenbrücke bridge, opened on 24th August 2008 and built to relieve traffic pressure on the Blue Wonder. The building of that bridge caused the Dresden Elbe Valley to be delisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Thankfully you can't see the Waldschlößchenbrücke looking down-stream from the middle of the Blue Wonder bridge, and instead you get a good view of the Elbschlösser and terraced vineyards that line the right-hand bank of the Elbe.
Once you cross the bridge to the Loschwitz side, there isn't an awful lot to do, though you might take the 1895-opened funicular railway (Standseilbahn) up to Weißer Hirsch on top of the hill.
Once up there you will probably very soon want to come back down again. There is not much to look at except gawp at some way-out-of-our-price-range villas:
You might think you'd get a stunning view of the Blue Wonder and the Elbe Valley from up there, but unfortunately all the good viewing positions have been taken by private villas who don't take kindly to trespassing tourists. There are a number of abandoned hospitals and clinics in Weißer Hirsch, suggesting that at the time the Blue Wonder and the funicular railway were built, this was a notable Kurort where the wealthy were treated or rejuvenated. Not anymore.
So off back down on the funicular, which gives me an excuse to post another photo of the funicular railway (I like funicular railways, whatever anyone else says about them).
It might not be such a wonder in these modern times, and it is not in fact very blue, but it is worth the trip out of the centre of Dresden to see. Especially if you enjoy feeding the waterfowl.
And always expect the unexpected in Germany. What's that woman doing lying on top of a car for example ... ?
Ah, it is in fact a mannequin, and it seems to be advertising something. Naturlich!