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The oldest bridge in Berlin: Jungfernbrü ...

The oldest bridge in Berlin: Jungfernbrücke

Sep 29, 2021

The “𝗝𝘂𝗻𝗴𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗯𝗿𝘂̈𝗰𝗸𝗲” (Jungfern Bridge, literally: maiden bridge) is the oldest preserved bridge in Berlin (-Mitte) and only one of the original nine drawbridges in Berlin. The bridge spans the Spreekanal and was built under Frederick III by Martin Grünberg in 1688 or 1689. At first it was called “𝗦𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗴𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗯𝗿𝘂̈𝗰𝗸𝗲” but as early as 1690 the name “𝗝𝘂𝗻𝗴𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗯𝗿𝘂̈𝗰𝗸𝗲” was used.

The bridge has undergone multiple restorations over the years to ensure its functionality and safety without compromising its historic appearance and value. The last update was in 1998/99 and cost 4.1 million Deutsche Mark (~ $2M)


Jungfernbrücke 2007. Von I, DorisAntony, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2310077

How the drawbridge got that name is not clear but there are plenty of stories which explain it.

  1. There used to be a river swimming bath near the bridge that only men were allowed to use. The maidens had to stay behind at the bridge.

  2. It was a wedding custom for the bride to walk across the bridge. If the planks creaked her virginity was questionable.

  3. A woman was killed on or near the bridge by a jealous man.

  4. Several daughters of French Huguenots had set up a business in a booth near the bridge where they sewed, repaired, and washed delicate clothes, lace, and silk stockings. They had an excellent reputation for their work, but also for their gossip. If you wanted to know the newest chitchat you would go to the maidens (𝗝𝘂𝗻𝗴𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗻) by the bridge.

  5. Close to the bridge was the oldest bordel of Berlin. The bridge was part of the prostitutes’ territory. Though prostitutes are the opposite of a maiden.

  6. Another explanation is similar to the one of the lace-repairing and gossiping girls. Two young women who lived close by in the inn “Französischer Hof” (and were probably French) had a booth by the bridge where they would sell needlework and crafts. People in Berlin would go to the “𝗝𝘂𝗻𝗴𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗻” to buy accessories.

Jungfernbrücke 1929. Von Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-P063586 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5474958

Jungfernbrücke 1967. Von Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-11302-0007 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5339420

by Hans Baluschek, around 1926

Heinrich Zille, 1909

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