Devils bridge

Devil’s Bridge

Hidden deep in the Eastern Rhodopes near the town of Ardino, the Devil’s Bridge is enveloped in mystical beauty, surrounded by beautiful scenery and impressive views. There are many medieval bridges that live up to the name Devil’s Bridge around the world, but the one that crosses the river Arda is one of the oldest and most surprising, both for its beauty, arches and height, and for its legend. Devil’s Bridge is not only a themed off-road experience, but also a popular fishing and picnic spot. It is said that it is not good to stay there in the dark and few do, although it is lit up at night and very beautiful.

The bridge was built in the early 16th century by order of Sultan Selim I to connect the road between the Thracian Plain and the Aegean Sea. It was built on the ruins of an old Roman bridge that was part of the old Via Ignatus road. In the middle of the 20th century, the route and the bridge were abandoned and forgotten. It is said that a dam was proposed to be built in this section of the Arda. The entire surrounding area was supposed to be submerged, but for some reason the dam was never built and the bridge survived. For over 500 years no maintenance was needed on the sturdy structure, you can imagine how well it was built. In 1984, the bridge was declared as a cultural monument.

The most interesting are the legends surrounding it.

The most famous legend about the bridge is about master Dimitar from the village of Nedelino. He accepted the challenge to build the bridge over the raging river, although all previous attempts to do so had failed. He completed the task extremely quickly, but died soon after. Legends say that it was Satan who promised the master to help him and ensure the construction’s infinite durability. The condition was to incorporate his image into the bridge itself, but not how, but in a way that was both visible and invisible, as well as tangible and intangible, and he has only 40 days. However, if he failed, Satan would take his soul. Dimitar succeeded, and Satan kept his promise, made the bridge infinitely durable, but cheated on the rest of his promise, and, sadly, the master still died soon after and took the secret to Satan to his grave.

Another folk tale tells of a young and beautiful maiden who was persecuted by the Turks many years ago. One of them was in love with her and wanted to make her part of his harem. She climbed the bridge to jump into the water and drown, preferring death to such a fate. When the Turks approached the bridge, they stopped in fear, seeing the devil’s face reflected in the river, and thus the maiden preserved her life.

The third legend tells that the devil himself built the bridge to prove his power and might, as evidence he left the print of his hoof, which can still be seen today, is on the bridge itself, on one of the stones.

The face of the Devil can be seen between 11-12 noon as a reflection in the clear waters of the river. Some see him right in the center of the bridge, where, formed as a circle by the reflection of the bridge in the waters of the river, two eyes, his nostrils, mouth and horns are clearly visible. Others see the arches as his horns and there is a third option which is at the top of the image if you look closely you will see two more eyes and the shape looks like a goat’s head which is also the most sinister.