What Is A Devil's Bridge?

A devil's bridge in Wales.
A devil's bridge in Wales.

All around the world, especially in Europe, there are several ancient bridges. Some of these bridges are known as Devil’s Bridges. The bridges resemble an arch made out of stone. At the time of their construction, they represented advanced knowledge and advancement in construction technology. Looking at the name given to these bridges, it is not a surprise that most of them, if not all, have an accompanying legend, myth, or a folktale involving the devil.

Most of these tales say that the bridges were constructed during the reign of the Roman Empire. Often, these tales are erroneous as fact shows that they were constructed during the medieval times between 1000 and 1600 AD. Most people attributed them to the devil because they did not think that it was possible for such a feat to be done. In fact, some of the roads that the Romans built were also attributed to the devil because of the advanced technology they employed.

Associated Tales

The number of tales that are associated with Devil’s Bridges is so plentiful that the Aarne-Thompson classification for folklore has them in their own unique classification. Some versions surrounding the bridges depict the devil and the builder of the bridge as enemies. This depiction is because the completion of some of the bridges was so tough that successful completion of the construction work required a monumental effort. These challenges are some of the things that earned these bridges their status.

Some legends show an old woman making a deal with the devil. The devil promises to build the bridge for her and in turn, he gets the first soul that uses the bridge. Upon completion of the bridge, the devil is tricked by the woman who lures a dog over the bridge first instead of a human being. There are similar tales of a builder who makes a deal with the devil. The devil is to build the bridge and in return, he will get the first soul to use the crossing. However, while the city leadership is debating who should use the bridge first, a rabbit crosses the bridge and the devil is left disgruntled.

These are just a few examples of the common tales. There are hundreds of tales out there. A good example of a Devil Bridge’s tale is the one for the Devil's Bridge in Ceredigion, Wales.

The Devil’s Bridge Of Ceredigion

This bridge is actually three bridges that are arranged on top of one another. The bottom one is the oldest while the topmost one is the newest. All three bridges are still in use. One can use a ladder, known as Jacob’s Ladder, to move between them.

The legend surrounding these bridges also involves the devil being tricked. Since the ravine was too dangerous for human beings to build, the devil offered to build a bridge for humans and take the first soul to cross. The soul ended up being a dog.

Other Bridges

Other bridges exist in countries such as Germany like the Rakotzbrücke, Teufelsbrücke in Switzerland, Chertov Most in Russia, Moara Dracului in Romania, and many more.


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