The Old Bridge


The old bridge over the Seenbach was built in 1599 and is today a protected monument and it remains a surviving witness to the history of the Merlau schloss (1583 to 1810). It was once the only connection between the village and the schloss. Such stone arch bridges were the dominant construction method in bridge building until the 16th century. The construction of the bridges was based on long experience, and they proved durable and sturdy. When we walk or drive today over this old bridge, we may not think of its history. But pause for a moment and reflect on the many thousands who have used the bridge before us. Workers, farmers, families who simply used the bridge to cross the stream in their daily lives. But also the hunting parties that would have set out from the schloss in its heyday as a hunting lodge. The wedding guests of the widow Maria, who married Count Philipp von Mansfeld in 1611, would have crossed the Seenbach with their servants, families and farmhands. During the Thirty Years War, the bridge would have seen Swedish and German troops along with roving mercenary bands from all over Europe. In later years, Prussian cavalry troops and then French infantrymen followed them at various times. In 1797, the retreating French used the schloss as a lazerrette for six months, and one can easily imagine recovering French infantrymen who idled away their time on the old bridge. And of course, in more recent times, part of the 1945 American military advance through Germany passed over the schloss bridge, long columns of tanks and infantrymen once again following in the footsteps of armies past.The old schloss bridge has borne, almost unnoticed, the weight of past history in its more than 400-year lifetime.