The Devil's Bridge
Miroslava Dermendjieva

The Devil's Bridge


The Devil's Bridge or "Shaitan kyupriya" is a medieval bridge over the Arda River. It is situated 10 km. from the town of Ardino and 4 km. from the village of Galabovo. The bridge was built between 1515 and 1518 over the remains of a Roman bridge at the ancient Via Egnatia road, connecting the Aegean with the Upper Thracian Valley. It is  420 m. above sea level and surrounded by steep slopes.

The bridge is 56 m. long, 3.5 m. wide, 12 m. high and there are holes in it –for water drainage. Along the edge there’s a stone guardrail that enriches its imposing architecture. The bridge can be reached by car as a dirt road leads there. There are separate tourist sites and facilities for recreation and picnics in the vicinity of the bridge.

The bridge is associated with numerous legends that define its name. According to some, the Devil’s footprint stands out in one of the stones. According to other legends, in the past the Arda River was so strong that the construction of a bridge over it was impossible. A young master fully committed himself to building a bridge, but was unable to complete it. Then the Devil materialized and offered the young man the secret of the sustainable architecture. And for that, the Evil Spirit set some inoperable conditions. For the bridge to be strong and eternal, the young master had to somehow weave the image of Satan in it. That image had to be visible, but at the same time invisible, tangible and yet ethereal. The master managed to cope with the task and today we can admire the work of a skilled artist, who managed to entwine the forms of bridge with the image of The Evil.


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