Bruck mit Bruckturm in Essing im Altmühltal

Bridge and Barbican

in Essing in the national park Altmuehl valley

Essing has had a bridge since days of yore. Essing is situated directly at the slope of the Jurassic formation; land which makes life possible must be reached over a bridge. Only there is a way to the fields and meadows, to the forests and market-places. The tower at the Altmuehl bridge shows elements of Gothic style, but the bridge is certainly much older than Gothic epoch.
Over the centuries the bridge has preserved its characteristics and its image. In old engravings the bridge has five or six piers, today there are only three - two in the water, one on land. With a length of 46 metres the bridge is a much admired historical monumentof the craft of carpenters.
With the scenic background it is a bridge for painters and photographers; but for the market-town of Essing it is a bridge of sorrow. Since time immemorial some repair work must be done on the bridge. Since the 17th century the state foresters were pledged to provide wood for the construction of the bridge for the symbolic price of some farthings, because they did not have to pay any bridge-toll for transporting wood over the bridge.

When major repair works were due, which happened every six years or so, it was always the same procedure:

If the bridge must be completely renovated, a supply of twenty trunks is necessary, usually firtrees and each at least 44 feet long. The trunks are put on the piers. About 280 planks are fastened with nails. The railings of the bridge are mounted on longer planks.
Sometimes it was necessary to ram in new piers, and that was a great event for the market-town. The oaken piles were harnrnered about six feet into the ground of the river. The old piling-machine consisted of "cat" and "bear". The bear was the wooden hammer with iron fittings. This hammer was hanging on the back of the cat, and a dozen sturdy men towed up the hammer and let it rush down on the pile, The master carpenter gave the orders at the top of his voice. But the commands were not just "lift" and "let go"; the boss had to shout funy rhymes. So the rhythm of work was ensured and all the bystanders had their amusement.
The barbican has a shingle-covered pavilion-roof. Aceess to the upper levels is possible only by outside stairs.

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Zuletzt aktualisiert am 10.02.2017