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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dragon Bridge
Official name The Jubilee Bridge of the Emperor Franz Josef I
Crosses Ljubljanica river
Locale Ljubljana, Slovenia
Design Arch bridge
Opened 1901

Dragon Bridge (Slovene: Zmajski most) is a road bridge located in Ljubljana,[1] the capital of Slovenia. It is situated in the northeast of Vodnik Square[2] across the Ljubljanica river.[3][4] Built in the beginning of the 20th century, the bridge is today protected as a technical monument.[5]



The bridge was originally named The Jubilee Bridge of the Emperor Franz Josef I.[3][6] But it lost its official name after opening and was unofficially renamed to the Dragon Bridge because of the four dragon statues at its four corners.[5][6]


The bridge was built to replace an old wooden bridge constructed in 1819,[3] which was damaged by a severe earthquake in 1895.[1] For economic reasons, the municipal authorities took the decision to finance a reinforced concrete construction instead of a more expensive and less fashionable stone one.[3] When the bridge was built, Ljulbljana was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the bridge was dedicated to Franz Joseph I of the Habsburg Dynasty to commemorate forty years of his rule from 1848–1888.[5][6] Dragon Bridge was completed in 1901.[1][5][6][7] The bridge was built during the administration of the mayor Ivan Hribar,[1] as part of a wider plan of urban renovation of the town. The builder of the bridge was Austrian engineer Josef Melan, who specialized in reinforced concrete bridge-building, and it was designed by Dalmatian architect Jurij Zaninović, who was a graduate of Otto Wagner's school of architecture in Vienna.[3][5]

In 1985, Dragon Bridge was thoroughly renovated and its centennial was celebrated in 2001.[5]


The Dragon statue

Dragon Bridge is often regarded as the most beautiful bridge produced by the Vienna Secession.[5] It is the first bridge in Slovenia paved with asphalt, the first reinforced concrete bridge in Ljubljana, and one of Europe's earliest reinforced concrete bridges.[3] When completed in 1901, it had the third largest arch in Europe at that time.[6] The bridge is built to the Melan System invented by Josef Melan, which gained popularity particularly in the United States and Germany because the bridges could be built without a supporting stage.[5] Rigid truss arches made of iron are set into the reinforced concrete bridge.[5] The load-bearing core of the bridge were the truss iron frames during construction.[6] After concreting these became a part of the supporting structure.[6]

Dragon Bridge is a triple-hinged arch bridge and has a span of 33.34 metres (109 ft 5 in).[5] The bridge is noted for its Art Nouveau style designed by Jurij Zaninovich.[3] He designed the concrete covering, the balustrades and the sheet-copper dragon statues of the bridge, which became a symbol of the city.[3] The most important feature of the bridge are these four dragon statues standing on pedestals at its four corners.[6][8]


There is a legend that Jason was the founder of Ljubljana, and he and his Argonauts killed a dragon.[9] This is one of the four dragon statues in the bridge.[9] According to local legends, when a virgin crosses the bridge, the dragons will wag their tails.[2][8] Some local people have nicknamed this structure "mother-in-law" because of its fiery nature.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Zmajski most in the Structurae database
  2. ^ a b Steve Fallon (2004). Slovenia. Lonely Planet. pp. p65. ISBN 1741041619.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Dragon Bridge
  4. ^ LJUBLJANA – A LIVELY CITY, SAFE UNDER THE WINGS OF A DRAGON International Associations of Business Communicators (IABC)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j C Abdunur (2001). ARCH'01: Troisième conferénce internationale sur les ponts en arc. Presses des Ponts. pp. p124. ISBN 2859783474.  
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Dragon Bridge
  7. ^ Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana
  8. ^ a b c Robin McKelvie, Jenny McKelvie (2005). Slovenia: The Bradt Travel Guide. ROBIN MCKELVIE. pp. p84. ISBN 1841621196.  
  9. ^ a b Walter Cummins, Thomas E. Kennedy (2005). The Literary Traveler. Del Sol Press. pp. p62. ISBN 0974822930.  

Coordinates: 46°03′07″N 14°30′37″E / 46.051947°N 14.510241°E / 46.051947; 14.510241



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