City of bridges

Außenansicht der Krämerbrücke; eine mit Häusern bebaute Brücke.
Picture: © Stadtverwaltung Erfurt

Erfurt is a city of bridges. The river Gera flows through Erfurt where it divides into the "Flutgraben" (river overflow) along the old town wall and then branches into several water courses criss-crossing the city.

Erfurt has 216 bridges: 142 are inside the city boundaries and 100 cross the Gera and its many little tributaries. On account of its many bridges and numerous water courses, the city resembles Venice - one central part of the city is known as "Kleinvenedig" (Little Venice). Bridges such as the "Lehmannsbrücke" and the "Lange Brücke" were important for commerce in the Middle Ages, but the "Krämerbrücke" is the most famous bridge in Erfurt.

The first documentary reference to the former wooden bridge dates back to 1117. In 1325, the present stone bridge was built in its place. This is the only example of a bridge consisting of houses which is still in daily use and which lies to the north of the Alps. Its six vaulted arches cross the Gera at a width of 79 metres near to where the former ford was located and which was used by travellers on the via regia, the royal route. Art galleries and crafts, antiques, music and wine shops all contribute to the unique medieval atmosphere of the "Krämerbrücke".