The Bridge of Arta
Up until now, whenever someone crosses this Bridge, becomes silent and shy as a tribute to the wife of the Chief Engineer. The legend has it, that her sacrifice made the construction of the Bridge possible, reversing the curse into a wish for the generations to come. The Bridge finally connected the two riversides of Arahthos river. Apart from the physical connection of the river, this Bridge is also what connects Arta with its historical past, its living present and hopefully its future.
For 2000 years, this achievement of engineering is standing as symbol of resistance, resistance against the water of the river (the water dam that was made up the river to provide the city of Arta with water, resulted with the disclosure of the wooden foundations of the Bridge, thus endangering the stability of the construction), resistance against the occupation powers (Turks, Germans), but also resistance against the Greek bureaucracy, that during the 1930’s, recommended the demolition of the Bridge, as it was no longer considered to be operational!
Despite all these challenges, the Bridge of Arta is still standing, maybe thanks to the wishes of the wife of the Chief Engineer:
‘May the bridge shake, like the wild mountains do
May the pedestrians fall, like the wild birds do’
Of course these are not the first words that this woman spoke. When she realised that the workers and her husband deceived her and send her to look for his wedding ring that was supposed to be at the foundations of the Bridge she said:
‘May the bridge shake, like the rifles do,
May the pedestrians fall, like the leaves of a tree do’
By burying this tragic figure under the foundations of the Bridge, the sacrifice was fulfilled and the Spirits of the river would allow the workers to successfully build the bridge, connecting the riversides of Arathos river.
This legend of the Bridge of Arta and the song of this tragic female figure is what made this construction known around the world. This Bridge has always been at the epicentre of artistic production. Paintings, embroideries, engravings on copper sheets, coins and sculptures which are depicting this Bridge, have given this monument a respectable position amongst the legendary Greek Monuments.
THE BRIDGE OF ARTA