Saturday, March 5, 2016

2014 Germany Trip - Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke)

Location: Cologne, Germany

Itinerary and full experience of my visit to Germany can be accessed through the link below:

A trip to Cologne guarantees a pilgrim to Cologne Cathedral but less people mentioned about walking the length of Hohenzollern Bridge. Its name is seldom mentioned but I recognized it from most Cologne introducing photos, with an iconic shot from across the River Rhine towards Cologne Cathedral and part of Hohenzollern Bridge in the foreground.

Bridge over River Rhine

After my visit to Cologne Cathedral I made my way towards the River Rhine, one of the major waterways in Germany. The three part bridge connects both halves of Cologne together, serving as the major thoroughfare for rail and pedestrian crossings. It used to allow car crossings before World War II but after its destruction and subsequent reconstruction, cars are no longer allowed to use the bridge.

The bridge was constructed in 1907 to 1911, replacing the old demolished Cathedral Bridge in the same place. Not only was this bridge an important link for Cologne - it was one of the most important bridges in Germany, so much so that it was under almost daily bombardment from Allied air raids during the war. As a testament to German engineering marvel, its stubborn structure refused to fail even after being relentlessly bombed.

The famous view across the bridge

You can look through these binoculars to see the view across the river

There are 4 of these statues situated on each end of the bridge (2 on each end). The equestrian statues represents the past Prussian kings and emperors, and are respectively König Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Kaiser Wilhelm I, Kaiser Friedrich III, and Kaiser Wilhelm II.



The end of the bridge on cathedral side of the river bank

Hanging out

Crossing the bridge allowed me a vista of the River Rhine, its waters broken occasionally by barges and cruise ships. Love locks of various designs added color to an otherwise dull grey structure, following a global movement of declaring a couple's love for each other via an unbreakable bond. Unfortunately this also added a load that is increasing with each additional lock, and the age old structure may support such kind of load in the future. Nevertheless love locks on Hohenzollern Bridge is a phenomenon that grabbed the attention of passerbys, including tourists like yours truly who will read some of the inscriptions for their romantic messages. There was an interesting article written here for the curious reader.


Train crossing

Colorful love locks

These love locks were placed since 2008 and made Hohenzollern Bridge one of the famous love lock bridges. However the locks are increasing the load on the bridge and may pose a structural hazard.

Locks and trains

Love under the sky

River Rhine

Reaching the other side of Cologne, I looked back to see the omnipresent shot of Hohenzollern Bridge spanning the mighty river towards Cologne Cathedral. It isn't a coincidence that such a view can be aligned nicely - the bridge is oriented towards the axis of the cathedral so looking down from space (or Google Map), they are aligned on a line.

Interesting as it may, there isn't much reason to spend more time with Hohenzollern Bridge. It took me approximately 1/2 hour to cross the bridge as well as took some shots of the equestrian statues of past Prussian kings and emperors on each end of the bridge. The love locks though was a pleasant surprise that added some nice memories to my stroll across the bridge.

Environment:         A historic bridge crossing the River Rhine
Suitable for:            History buffs
Visit worthiness:   7.5/10 
Historical value:        3.0/5.0 
Architectural value:  3.0/5.0
Photographic value: 4.0/5.0
Landmark value:       5.0/5.0

Entrance Fee:                 free
Opening Hours:            always accessible
Best Moment to Visit: Dusk or dawn for the best shot across the river
Length of Visit:              <1 hour

Website:                   -

Contact:                    -
E-mail:                      -
Address:                   -

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