Bratislava Bridges

Important cities are usually built along important rivers. For a long time there wasn´t any permanent bridge to the other side in Bratislava. As the city was growing bigger, and most importantly the number of its inhabitants was rapidly growing bigger, the number of bridges over the Danube River, for now, stopped at the number five. Old Bridge, SNP Bridge, Apollo Bridge, Lanfranconi Bridge, and Harbour Bridge. 

Old Bridge

As its name suggests, Old Bridge is the oldest preserved bridge in the town. People were using boats or ford to cross the river in the past, before the first bridge was constructed. The medieval wooden bridge was destructed by great water and later was replaced by so-called boat bridge and later by pontoon bridge. A significant change occurred with the advancing industrialisation in 1890 when the first permanent bridge has been constructed. The Emperor Franz Joseph I. attended the grand opening, and the bridge was named after him until the disintegration of Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

What was the usage of the bridge?

It was not only for pedestrians but also for carriages and railway. Its construction wasn´t useful only for river crossing but also helped the small municipal parts along the Danube bank. After the First Czecho-Slovak Republic was established, the bridge changed its name to Štefánik´s Bridge but it didn’t survive the Second World War – just before the end of the war, the retreating German army blew it up. Its reconstruction started right after the liberation in cooperation of local workers together with Soviet soldiers and German prisoners of war. It was not an easy work and they had to work even15 hours-a-day in the harsh conditions. The construction was finished in February 1946 and as an honour to the liberators it should carry the name The Red Army Bridge. Initially it was intended to be just a temporary solution for some 15 years but after all it served Bratislava people for another 53 years. The complete reconstruction started in 2013 and lasted, with many peripeties, almost 3 years. Today you can enjoy the bridge by walking, on bike or on a tram.

SNP Bridge

The Bridge of Slovak National Uprising was initially known by shorter name – The New Bridge. Even though some locals call it by this name even now, from 2012is it officially the SNP Bridge. This bridge has been built in 1972 by national enterprise Doprastav and the date of the opening corresponded with the 28th anniversary of SNP (Slovak National Uprising). Although media presented this happening with a proper fame and pomp, its opening was accompanied by a controversial incident. During the tape cutting ceremony was one half of the bridge reserved for the state delegation while the second half was filled with thousands of enthusiastic people. Such amount of people almost damaged the bridge construction – specifically with the frequency of their feet impact. Luckily, there wasn´t any real damage and the construction was completely finished two year later and became one of the characteristic signs of the city. The bridge construction, however, has its darker side – namely destruction of historical and cultural sights that originally created a part of the old town. Even though the bridge remains to be full of contradictions in 2001 it was declared the construction of the century. So, it is up to the visitors and habitants to decide if they like it or not and if they would enjoy a good drink or dinner at the legendary UFO Restaurant that creates an inseparable part of the spirit of this bridge.

Apollo Bridge

Visually most significant bridge is undoubtedly the Apollo Bridge. Its characteristic blue-white coloured arched construction definitely shows up between other bridges and gives Bratislava bridges a hallmark of originality. It is a rather young bridge finished in 2005 but is managed to collect notable awards, for example Slovak Construction of the Year 2006 or prestigious Opal Award in 2006 as the only construction nominated  from Europe that year. 

The first thing that catches the eye of everyone is its steel construction, which placing was at the same time a huge theatre for spectators. 8000 tons of steel was placed on floating pontoons and needed to be rotated into position – a procedure lasting many nerve-wracking hours.  

The first plans for a bridge constructed at this place occurred in 1976 but the project depended on decision about the traffic conception. It took another 23 years until a definite decision has been made and the bridge was designed as a road city bridge. Although the name of this bridge may not sound very Slovak, it doesn´t refer to a Greek got either – the name is a commemoration of a Bratislava refinery that once stood near the bridge. The refinery was heavily bombed during the Second World War as a strategic enterprise. Even though the refinery is not standing on the Danube banks anymore, the memory of it lives symbolically in the figure of the bridge, that we recommend for a visit at late afternoon or at night when it is light up in an interesting was. 

Lanfranconi Bridge and Harbour Bridge

Once we say the name Lanfranconi Bridge you would probably look it up in a map of Italy. Well, you won´t be very far from truth – the engineer and inventor, after who the bridge is named, really came from the Italian peninsula and you can learn more about him in an article at our web. Enea Granzioso Lanfranconi knew the watercourse of the Danube River like the back of his hand and dedicated to its regulation. Lanfranconi fell in love with Bratislava and helped Bratislava namely with his deep knowledge and brilliant mind. Bratislava repaid his help by naming the bridge and also dormitory after him. An interesting fact is, that in 1991 when it was built and named, the name was a corruption of the name of the above-mentioned inventor. 

The Harbour Bridge is another practical bridge in Bratislava, also originally known as the Bridge of Dukla Heroes. This bridge is interesting by its construction – the is a railway with a regular train traffic built in its interior. The top of the bridge is a classic highway bridge that at the same time didn´t forget about the cyclists. This bridge is f the older ones, finished in 1985 and as its name suggests, it is located near the shipping harbour. 

Both bridges are mainly intended for car traffic reducing, but this doesn´t mean we cannot enjoy a pleasant walk here or connect to several cycleways connecting historical centre with the forests at Petržalka shores.  

There are other interesting bridges in Bratislava. For example, Floodplain Bridge connecting peripheries of Bratislava, the railway Red Bridge from the late 19th Century or Bridge of Caroline Augusta composing of 23 ships that were dismantled on a regular basis every winter, until the final dismantling in 1890.