Devil’s Bridge

Location ID: 2821

This marvelous location is an old arch bridge over the Arda River, situated in a narrow gorge. It is located 10 km (6.2 mi) from the Bulgarian town of Ardino in the Rhodope Mountains, about 4 hours away from Sofia, and is part of the ancient road connecting the lowlands of Thrace with the north Aegean Sea coast.

The “Devil’s Bridge” was rebuilt between 1515 and 1518 by a Bulgarian Master under the Ottoman occupation of Bulgaria. The bridge was initially built by the Romans to link the Aegean Sea and the region of Thrace in Bulgaria. The Devil’s bridge, the largest, most stunning and best known of the humpbacked bridges that cross the Arda River in the Rhodope mountains, is 56 m (183.7 ft) long and has three arches, but also features holes with small semicircular arches to read water level. It has a width of 3.5 m (11.5 ft) and its main arch is 11.50 m (37.7 ft) high. A stone guard rail, 12 cm (4.7 in) in height, is preserved on the sides, and breakwaters are placed opposite the stream.

An architectural marvel that spans the Arda River, and has stories of a haunted past.

It’s one of several “devil’s bridges” found around Europe.

The reason some locals are hesitant to cross at night is rooted in dark lore. One story is that the master builder’s wife passed away during the construction, so her shadow was encased in the structure. Another folk-tale has it that the devil’s footprint can be found somewhere on the rocks. While this is all folklore myth, its towering form does make for a somewhat unsettling vista in the darkness.

The bridge was declared a cultural monument in 1984. It was also the spot for filming a lot of different film productions.