Devil’s Bridge

The Devil’s Bridge (Kuradisild in Estonian) is one of the most famous historical landmarks in Tartu, located on Toomemäe Hill. It was built in 1913. The bridge’s construction was timed to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty, although its history began much earlier.

History of the Devil’s Bridge

The first bridge at this location appeared in 1809. It was a wooden structure in the Neo-Gothic style, designed by architect Johann Wilhelm Krause, who also designed the nearby Angel’s Bridge. Between 1842 and 1844, the second version of the wooden Devil’s Bridge was built, which lasted until 1913.

The current version of the bridge was designed by Tartu architect Arved Eichhorn. The structure is dedicated to Russian Emperor Alexander I, who in 1802 signed the decree founding the University of Tartu. From Vallikraavi Street, one can see a bronze bas-relief of the emperor and the inscription “Aleksandro Primo.”

A narrow path through Toomemäe Park leads to the bridge. Concrete benches are installed in the bridge’s niches. Today, they seem impractical from a functional perspective since sitting on a stone is not the most pleasant experience. However, they hold historical value.

Photo Gallery

Interpretation of the Name

There are several interpretations of the Devil’s Bridge name. According to one version, it was named in honor of the construction’s initiator, a lecturer at the University of Tartu, and the personal physician to the mother of Nicholas II, surgeon Werner Zoege von Manteuffel.

“Teufel” translates from German as “devil.” According to another version, the Tartu Bridge got its name due to its external resemblance to the famous Swiss bridge over the Reuss River.

Map Location

Other Interesting Places

  • Be sure to visit the Tartu Botanical Garden, especially delightful in the summer. You will enjoy walking through the alleys here, admiring the plants.
  • One of Tartu’s newest bridges is the Freedom Bridge. It is located almost in the center of the city and provides a crossing of the Emajõgi River.
  • We also recommend visiting the Museums in Tartu. You’re sure to enjoy their exhibitions.