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Europa 2018 - Bridges

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About Europa 2018 - Bridges

At the beginning of the 18th century, after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession and the war against the Ottoman Empire, the conditions to revive the economy and trading on the area of Croatia were met creating a need to connect Pannonia with the coastal area by a road through the mountainous area of Gorski kotar. In 1718, the Croatian Parliament approved the proposal to build a road from Karlovac through Novigrad na Dobri, Delnice and Javornik to the port in Kraljevica. However, the construction started a while later, in 1725, and was fully completed in 1738. The designer and builder of the road named Via Carolina Augusta, today known as Karolinska cesta, was Matija Antun Weiss (1661 – 1738). The road was named after the ruling emperor, Charles IV, who personally travelled the passable section of the route in 1728. The road is around 60 miles or roughly 106 km long and the planned costs were 70,000 forints. In order to cross over certain streams and rivers, several bridges had to be built on the road, typically wooden constructions on stone columns and abutments.

Among the bridges on the River Dobra, the bridge near Novigrad na Dobri especially stands out. It was built using cut stone. The bridge is located in a tame valley of the river not too far from a castle built on a hill at the beginning of the 16th century. It was owned by the Frankopan, Zrinski and Patačić families. According to some accounts regarding bridge tolls, there was a wooden bridge prior to this one on the same location.

The bridge is 114.5 m long, 5.8 m wide and it crosses the river with 10 semi-circular arches with a span of 4.9 m. The columns are massive, harmoniously shaped with pronounced extents. The fences are made of stone, 0.5 m wide and 0.6 to 0.75 m high. The bridge grade level is convex with the highest point in the middle of the bridge. In terms of the layout, the bridge is perpendicular to the river flow. It is an interesting fact that, according to some accounts, the owners of the castle and the surrounding properties had to finance the bridge construction even though the road was financed by the Viennese court.

The bridge is a valuable monument to the bridge building skill and it is in a relatively good condition considering that it is more than 250 years old and a protected cultural monument.

The bridge on the River Dobra can be reached from an exit on the Zagreb – Rijeka Highway 1 at the Novigrad junction and then by a local road leading to Novigrad na Dobri.