Dyavolski Most (Devil’s Bridge) – an Ancient Bridge over the Arda River – Town of Ardino
Does this crossing carry a curse?
You’ve heard of a bridge over troubled waters, but what if the bridge is troubled too? Legend tells of a Bulgarian stonemason, Dimitar, who was tasked with solving a bridge problem here in the early 1500s. Dimitar was hired to construct a crossing that wouldn’t collapse into the rushing Arda river, as had all previous spans in this strange spot.
How could Dimitar build a bridge to beat all the others? By making a deal with the devil, of course. As one version of the story goes, Lucifer impelled Dimitar to encase his wife’s shadow in the stonework, which imbued the bridge with supernatural strength against the rapids. The diabolical catch? Trapping her shadow meant she was doomed to death once construction was completed. Dimitar finished the bridge in 40 days, and his wife died shortly after.
Dyavolski Most (Devil’s Bridge) in the Rhodope Mountains of southern Bulgaria stands tall to this day as proof of Dimitar’s deadly pact. Or could it be, perhaps, that Dimitar was just a really good stonemason? Five centuries on, it’s all water under the bridge…
The Dyavolski most (Bulgarian: Дяволски мост, lit. ’Devil’s Bridge’; Turkish: Şeytan Köprüsü) is an arch bridge over the Arda River in a narrow gorge. It is 10 km (6.2 mi) from the Bulgarian town of Ardino in the Rhodope Mountains and is part of the ancient road connecting the lowlands of Thrace with the north Aegean Sea coast.
Dyavolski most was rebuilt between 1515 and 1518 by the Bulgarian Master Dimitar. Legend has it that the bridge was built by the Romans to link the Aegean Sea and the region of Thrace in Bulgaria. The bridge, the largest and best known of its kind in the Rhodopes, is 56 m (183.7 ft) long and has three arches, but also features holes with small semicircular arches to read water level. The Dyavolski most is 3.5 m (11.5 ft) wide and its main arch is 11.50 m (37.7 ft) high. A stone parapet, 12 cm (4.7 in) tall, is preserved on the sides, and breakwaters are placed opposite the stream.
International long-distance hiking trail the Sultans Trail passes the bridge from Ardino to Kardzhali.
The bridge was proclaimed a monument of culture on 24 February 1984.