over the Bóbr river
The railway viaduct spanning the Bober River valley has been one of the city’s biggest attractions since its completion. The construction works directed by Engelhardt Gansel were carried out in 1844–1846. The viaduct is a huge structure: 26-m-high, 490-m-long and 8-m-wide. Seven of the 35 arches extends over the river – each of them is 15-m-wide; 20 central arches have a width of 11.3 m each, and the 8 outermost ones are 5.65-m-wide. The pillars are equally impressive in size – eight main ones, called towers, are 3.75-m-wide, the smaller ones are between 3.15 and 2.5 m wide. A total of 33,400 cubic meters of building material were used in the viaduct construction. Over 600 workers were employed for this project. For some time, they also worked at night. The masonry works required 14,500 t of lime and 400 t of cement. The construction of the scaffolding itself, performed by 100 people who used 12,000 tree trunks of 15-25 m length, consumed 60,000 thalers. The total cost reached a dizzying amount of 400,000 thalers. Although this amount seems to be very high, experts calculated that only the close location of the materials necessary for construction allowed to reduce costs by as much as half. The viaduct was appreciated and in 1847 the Prussian government awarded the architect with the Order of the Red Eagle. Today, the viaduct is considered not only a high-class technical work but also a valuable art object. Although there is a clearly visible inspiration with Roman aqueducts, the set of decorative forms refers to Gansel’s favourite architecture of the Gothic period.