River cantatasThe rivers Göltzsch and Weiße Elster form the two great lifelines of the Vogtland. We follow their course after starting at the imposing Göltzschtal Bridge, and shortly afterwards also encounter their little sister, the Elstertal Bridge. In the valleys you can listen to the murmur of the rivers and the babbling of the brooks.
The impressive giant Göltzschtal bridge is the fitting overture for this enchanting hiking trail and on the last metres of the day's tour, the Elstertal bridge offers the furious final chord. The construction of the two gigantic brick bridges began in 1846 and ended, after only 5 years of construction, on 15 June 1851 with the simultaneous inauguration of the two railway bridges.
Millions of red bricks were used to give the bridges their typical colour. Every day, 150,000 bricks were brought from 6 large brickworks in the vicinity and laid by hand.
The Göltzschtal Bridge has an impressive 26 million bricks, its "little sister" the Elstertal Bridge 12 million. A special mortar was used for the construction, a mixture of lime, sand, brick dust, alum slate slag and water, which the Reichenbach pharmacist Heinrich Carl developed especially for the construction.
At times, a total of over 2,500 workers were involved in the construction and the persistent legend that the designer threw himself off the Göltzschtal Bridge on the day of the inauguration because he was afraid the bridge would not bear the load is not true!