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Stambolov Bridge, Veliko TarnovoCod 2478

Stambolov d Bridge in Veliko Tirnovo connects the actual central part of the city with the Mount Athos. The Mountain offers wonderful views of the old city of Veliko Tirnovo. Construction of the facility began in 1892, while its hight measures 37 meters.
The bridge was built to shorten the road between the city, the next railway station and the University of Veliko Tirnovo City. The railway construction through the city was launched in 1900 and without this bridge, the road to railway station took too much time. There are disputes regarding te year of putting the bridge in operation, but different sources shows three different years – 1899, 1900 and 1904. Years ago were crossing the bridge hundreds of cars and trucks and buses. In the 70s of the XXth century, the traffic has been mainly focused towards the new University of Veliko Turnovo.
The bridge’s superstructure designer is the Italian architect Giovanni Musutti (also the designer of the Monument to Vasil Levski), working in the city at this time. The main structure of the bridge is made of steel. In fact, it is a railway bridge adapted to road transport by the country’s Railways. Contractor of the project is the Austrian company for metal casting products “Rudolph Philip Wagner”, specialized in construction of metallic structures and of casting products. That company in partnership with a company from Grats provides with parts and casting parts for Lion Bridge and Eagle Bridge and Iron Church in Sofia and Istanbul.
The bridge is the first significant manifestation of modern European constructions of bridges in the country and, as a free structure hung without supports, it is among the first in the Balkans.There is an information according to which the bridge construction originator is Stefan Stambolov and in his honor, after his death, the bridge was named after him. In compliance with the information of the Regional Museum of History, the bridge has nothing to do with Stefan Stambolov as an ideea and/or as an achievment.
The Bridge of Stambolov has been built with separate elements, which are delivered from abroad and assembled on site. Originally a wooden scaffold was built, by master-builder in Tirnovo Stoyan Gerganov to keep different parts of the bridge. Each design element has been lifted up by means of a special technique in its place, where the element was attached to the other with metal rivets. To facilitate the rivets’ master process, the masters maintained several outbreaks on wooden scaffoldings, where the metal was heated. The work was not easy and the workers out there were constantly under constant threat of accidents.
One of the most violent incidents during the installation took place a few days before the bridge can be completed. While installing the last metal arch on the bridge, something went wrong and the metallic element weighing several tons, flew to the river. The workers caught anything they could and thus they escaped, while looking how pieces of 30 meters tall collapsed to the Yantra river bottom. The construction had to stop because there was no equipment, to pull it back. The only way out was to order a new element abroad. As the item arrived in Veliko Tarnovo, the one end bridge stood menacingly in the air.
After the signal of the Austrian company contractor, as the bridge is now out of warranty, the the circulation of cars is forbidden. Gathering a lot of people on the bridge is also forbidden .
Stambolov Bridge is also known for suicides rituals. Those unhappy in love or desperate people jump over the railing with the gap in the middle of the fatal parapet, into the 37 meter depth under the river Yantra. The first of such a case is mentioned in the years of 50s of the XXth century and up today there are known 20 such cases, including the last years cases.
In the past the impressive arch of the bridge has also attracted other intrepid adrenaline seekers, such as the pilot-officer Petko Popganchev. On 24th of May 1932, with its biplain DAR-1A-B and BIKR board he descends from the south of the bridge on the river Yantra and flies under the bridge to the steep opposite shore. On the occasion of holydays of Saints Cyril and Methodius, in the city and on the bridge many people gather and they are welcome to applaud his master presentation.
DAR-1A aircraft has a wingspan of 8.90 meters, so that the opening of the bridge is more than 40 meters and there is no problem for a flyover. The height over the water is also more than sufficient– an assembly of 37 meters. But, flying under the arch of the bridge in front of the pilot appears a high urban riverbank cliff and until the cliff there are only 170 meters! D DAR-1A is only a Walter Wega engine with 85 horse power. The Ace Air can’t rely solely on power. In his own stories, he fell into the river, with a slight dip, gaining enough speed to be able then to turn it in height, by making a turn to the right and later to get out far above the steep banks of the river. In this way, he causes a mad delight in the eyes of those looking this unique performance of Veliko Tirnovo City.

After flying under the bridge, making several rounds “of applause” over the city he lands on the lawn below the top of Kartala where one can see the whole city. It is said that this performance at that time has been unusual one, like a a declaration of love to a beautiful girl in the city.
In honor of the 80 years and as a reminder to this masterful flight, under the bridge, at the end of 2012, between Bridge Stambolov and the old town has been mounted in the air, the silk and ropes art installation entitled “Dar 1 Plane”, which is a model for flying aircraft. The art installation is the masterpiese of the folowing artists: Lyuben Kostov, Ivan Uzunov and Magdalina Cholakova.

Now Stambolov’s Bridge is a favorite place for teenagers. Every summer evening becomes a racetrack for skaters and roller skaters.The Bridge is a romantic place preferred by many couples. Bungee jumping for adventurers is also organised.

Beautiful view to the houses arranged in amphitheater in the Old Town make this sightseeing to be attended by many Bulgarian and foreigners.

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