May 19, 1993
In the Republic of Slovenia, the replacement for a longtime bridge in that European country’s capital city of Ljubljana was opened for public use. The current version of the Kavšek Bridge, just like its predecessor, crosses Glinšĉica Creek in Ljubljana’s neighborhood of Podutik. Nearly two years before the debut of this new bridge, Slovenia had established itself as an independent republic after being a part of Yugoslavia for more than four decades.
The original Kavšek Bridge had been built in 1901, during an era in which that region of present-day Slovenia was part of the Duchy of Carniola within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Franc Kavšek (also known as Franz Kauschegg), a member of a local road committee, supervised the construction of the bridge. The completed structure was named after him.
The bridge featured low walls on both sides of the crossing. These walls were built from limestone blocks that had been quarried locally. The stonemason responsible for carving out and assembling these blocks was Alojz Vodnik. On the bridge’s southern wall, he also included an image of Christian iconography that he had created.
Over the course of the next several decades, the Kavšek Bridge was used for motor vehicle traffic. In 1985, however, the aging bridge collapsed. The walls for the new version were built to look like the previous walls as much as possible. This process included recreating the religious image that Vodnik made for the original bridge. A sculptor named Julijan Renko carved that replica of the image, and it can now be seen on a column atop the southern wall of the current Kavšek Bridge.
As part of Podutik Street in that section of Ljubljana, this replacement bridge is now used only by bicyclists and pedestrians. A new bridge has been built nearby for motor vehicles. In 2001, the present-day Kavšek Bridge’s resemblance to its forerunner was further acknowledged when it was officially declared a cultural monument of local significance.
Photo Credit: Doremo (licensed under Creative Commons)
For more information on the current Kavšek Bridge and its predecessor, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kav%C5%A1ek_Bridge