Rakotzbrücke – The Devil’s Bridge

There are numerous Devil’s Bridges around the world. In France, alone there are forty-nine bridges that bear the name The Devil’s Bridge. Rakotzbrucke, Germany pictured above is without doubt the most picturesque of all Devil’s Bridges in the world. Yet there was another reason I chose it visit it whilst doing research for my book The Devil’s Prayer. 

Devil’s bridges were all significant technological achievements for their times. Most of these bridges share the same legend: a pact made with the Devil to build a bridge overnight in exchange for the first soul to cross the bridge. After delivering on his side of the deal, the Devil would then be outwitted by the builders, by for example, getting some animal to cross the bridge first, denying the Devil a human soul. Rakotzbrucke does not share this common legend. This is one of two bridges worldwide in which according to legend, the builder honoured the deal by walking the bridge himself.

To get to Rakotzbrucke is an adventure in itself. The train from Berlin main train station takes around an hour and a half to reach Cottbus. From Cottbus, you need to get the train to Weibwasser, a small glass making town on the German Polish border.

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Rakotzbrucke is located within the 200 acre Kromlauer Park in Kromlau. To get to Kromlau you have to board the Waldeisen Bahn, an old steam railway train. The Waldeisen Bahn station is located some two kilometres from Weibwasser station. There were no taxis at the station and I decided to walk through the quaint border town of Cottbus and soon found the steam railway line.

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The train line to Kromlau passes through UNESCO protected Muskau wetlands.

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The stop for the Devil’s Bridge is Kromlau and a short walk leads you to the Rhododendron Park within which this bridge is located. Rakotzbrucke is also known for the perfect circle the reflection forms and if you look sideways, some people believe you can see the face of the Devil.

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Man made or natural, these strange rock formations are scattered both within the waters and throughout the 200 acres Kromlau Park complex.

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The steam train also goes to Bad Muskau which is right on the border with Poland. Muskau Castle is straight out of a fairy tale and well worth a visit.

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The Castle rose gardens were in bloom too.

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In Search of ‘The Devil’s Prayer’

In 2015, I visited Rakotzbrucke whilst conducting research for my book, The Devil’s Prayer.

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The concept of doing deals with the Devil features in this book. The Devil’s Prayer  is available on Amazon, ibooks, Google Play and Kobo.

Travel tips

I chose to visit from Berlin and there is a direct train from Berlin to Cottbus. Buy your tickets on Deutsche Bahn more than 24 hours in advance to Cottbus and it is usually less than half the price, but these tickets are not flexible. I chose to travel on the ICE as these trains are much quicker and have internet and other comforts not afforded by the Regional Bahn service. Carry your passport, you will be right on the border with Poland and you will almost certainly cross over to Poland.

There are a few great hotels next to Berlin Main train station. The Steigenberger is my favourite and the less expensive neighbouring Intercity Hotel is also very good.

During my visit the train ran every two hours or so and I took a taxi back from Bad Muskau to Weibwasser station and it was less than 20 euro. The Waldeisen Bahn is not open throughout the year and it posts train timetables and information at its website. http://www.waldeisenbahn.de/en/

This is one hidden gem off the beaten track and  a great day trip out of Berlin. I would recommend staying overnight in Bad Muskau which is famous for its baths as well.

 

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Rakotzbrücke – The Devil’s Bridge

  1. Love this blog ! Very helpful info for seeing devils bridge. Couldn’t seem to find much info elsewhere! Would you suggest the bridge is worth seeing? Going through trains and takes alot of time. How much were the train tickets?

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    1. Definitely worth a visit. You can find the daily train fares to Cottbus from Berlin on deutsche bahn. I tend to book at least 48 hours prior so it is a lot cheaper if you do it that way. I did not stay the night but would recommend spending a night or two at the Polish spa town of Bad Muskau. The taxi from Bad Muskau to Cottbus station was 18 Euro so it was not really that far.

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    2. If you are leaving from Berlin, the train to Cottbus takes about 1 hour. There is then a walk to the steam train station which is about 1 kilometre away. I would highly recommend it as a two or three day trip with an overnight stay at Bad Muskau and visit the Park from there. The Park is amazing and Bad Muskau is a spa town so great for relaxation.

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  2. Thanks for the wonderful write-up and information. Planned a trip to Germany in March’17. But I just checked the timetable, and Waldeisen Bahn is not running in March 😦

    Are there any alternatives to go into Kromlau apart from the train?

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    1. I know you can get to Bad Muskau from Cottbus by taxi and it was 18 euro. I am also sure you could walk along the tracks if the train is not running as it is not a large distance. The wetlands are world heritage listed and Bad Muskau and Kromlau are both well worth a visit.

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  3. I visited the place just yesterday from Berlin and no one seemed to know the correct route. I tried to follow your way but I was told there is no route from Cottbus and it’s very far from Cottbus. At Cottbus they were very confused even when we asked directions to the steam trains. We were told to take a train from Cottbus to weißwasser and from there a taxi. Even to the steam engines they told us to take that from weißwasser and not from Cottbus. The place is 100km from Cottbus. It’s not very easy to travel there from Berlin

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    1. I am sorry to hear that. If you get to Cottbus, you need to walk to the steam train station which is located about 18 minutes walk from the Cottbus station. It is called the Waldeisen Bahn. I hope you got to see the Devil’s Bridge as it is a long way to go from Berlin. If you walk from the station on Stadt Ring you will eventually pass a restaurant called Chekov on your left and then you turn left to Parkeisan station is called Parkeisan Bahn. It is in a park called Elias Park. The train definitely stopped at Parkeisahn Bahn when I visited Cottbus last year.

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    2. You can get there by travelling until Weißwasser train Station (the first Picture about the statues is also from there) and walk ~40-60 mins or take a bus (but it´s not every day available!). We travelled from Dresden, changed Train at Görlitz to Weißwasser and walked. Once you arrived to Weißwasser, just leave the train Station behind, turn left on the first street and Keep Walking.

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  4. Are you sure that the taxi from Bad Muskau costs only 18 euro. Because google map shows the distance about 40 km. Anyways the waldseinbahn you mentioned is not connected with Cottbus.

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