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Bridges With Buildings

During the Middle Ages, it was common to have buildings built on top of bridges. These spaces were rented out to shopkeepers and merchants, and the money raised from the rent went towards the bridge’s maintenance. Only a handful of such bridges exist today. In an earlier article, we saw four such bridges—Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy; Krämerbrücke in Erfurt, Germany; Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy; and Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England. In this installment, we have tracked down five more.

High Bridge, Lincoln

High Bridge, Lincoln
Image credit: Claire Brownlow/Flickr
The High Bridge, in Lincoln in eastern England, is the oldest bridge in the United Kingdom to still have buildings on it. Constructed in 1160, the bridge takes its name from the street that it carries across the River Witham. The first building over the High Bridge was a chapel dedicated to St Thomas Becket. The chapel was built in 1235, but became disused in 1549. The next year, the bridge was covered by a massive platform and a row of shops were constructed. These are in use till to this day. The chapel was eventually demolished in 1762.
In the late 18th century, the river beneath the bridge was dredged and the river bed lowered to facilitate the passage of barges. The archway through the bridge became known as the ‘Glory Hole’.
High Bridge, Lincoln

Pont des Marchands

Pont des Marchands, literally “Merchants' Bridge”, is a historic bridge in Narbonne, southern France. The bridge serves as a foundation for a row of houses and shops underneath which the Canal de la Robine runs through the old town. The bridge was built in the 1st century, and originally had six or possibly seven arches. Today, only a single arch spans the canal.
Pont des Marchands
The bridge in Roman times. Image credit: wiki-narbonne.fr
Pont des Marchands
Pont des Marchands today. Image credit: Didier Descouens/Wikimedia Commons

Alte Nahebrücke

The Alte Nahebrücke is a medieval stone arch bridge which originally spanned the Nahe river and a neighbouring canal called the Mühlenteich in Bad Kreuznach, in western Germany. Built in the 14th century, the bridge provided an important connection on the road from to Mainz to Trier, and it formed part of the town fortifications.
The section which spans the Mühlenteich supports four old buildings. The other section, which spanned the Nahe river was blown up by German troops during the Second World War to hinder the approach of American forces.
Alte Nahebrücke
Alte Nahebrücke in 1900.
Alte Nahebrücke

Covered Bridge, Lovech

The Covered Bridge in the town of Lovech, Bulgaria, is over a hundred meters long and spans the Osam River, connecting the old and new town parts of Lovech. It is one of the most recognizable symbol of the town.
The original bridge was built in 1874, after the old bridge was washed away by a flood. The bridge was completely covered, and accommodated 64 shops. This bridge was destroyed in a fire in 1925, and a more modern bridge was constructed at its place in 1931 only to be replaced by another reconstruction in 1981–82. The current bridge has 14 shops.
Covered Bridge, Lovech
Covered Bridge, Lovech

Irgandı Bridge

Irgandı Bridge is a single arch bridge over Gökdere, a tributary of Nilüfer River, in the city of Bursa, in Turkey. The bridge was commissioned by a wealthy merchant named Müslihidddin in 1442 during the reign of Murat II of the Ottoman Empire. The bridge originally had over thirty shops.

Irgandı Bridge

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