Wroclaw

Penitents' Bridge

Not all of Wrocław's many bridges are on the water. Also called the Witches’ Bridge, this footbridge connecting the two towers of St. Mary Magdalene’s Church is heavy with medieval patriarchal baggage. Not long after its completion in the 15th century, legends began to circulate that at night the bridge would teem with the tormented souls of women who chose a life of coquetry and idleness instead of fulfilling their god-ordained duties of housekeeping, childcare, and obedience to their husbands - the Mary Magdalenes of the day, so to speak. By some accounts, the bridge was also used to identify medieval witches in a variation of the ‘trial by cold water’. Women accused of witchcraft would be forced to walk across the bridge (with no guard rail, naturally); those who lost balance and fell to their deaths would be exonerated, while those who made it across would be deemed witches and burned at the stake.
Witchy gnomes with a view of the Old Town on Penitents' Bridge.

The current iteration of the bridge is far from the first, due to a few mishaps along the way, including the bridge burning down during a fireworks show meant to celebrate the birthday of Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1887 and being pulverized in WWII bombings. After thorough renovations and being brought up to contemporary safety standards, the 45-metre-high viewpoint can be reached by scaling 247 winding stairs inside one of the church towers, and offers splendid views of the main square and beyond.

Open

Open 10:00-20:00.

Price/Additional Info

Admission 10/7zł.

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