DESTINATION: ROMANIA/ "God's Bridge" or the natural miracle of Mehedinti County

 •  Destination: Romania

Located in the north of the Mehedinti County, 'God's Bridge' or the natural bridge of Ponoare is the second largest in Europe.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

The legends say God threw this bridge over an abyss with troubled waters, where bizarre beings were lurking to pull people into hell, in order to help Saint Nicodemus, whose name is connected with the history of the first monastery of Wallachia — Vodita, cross the water of Tismana River, so he could raise for Gods' glory his second foundation — the renowned Tismana Monastery (1377).

'God's Bridge' is located on County Road 670, linking Baia de Arama town to all the rural localities of the mountain area of Mehedinti County. It has been revamped by the Mehedinti County Council with European funds received via the Oltenia South-West Regional Development Agency.

The interim president of the institution, Aladin Georgescu, confessed that if the intervention hadn't been done in time, the bridge, actually created by the Ponoare Cave ceiling collapse, would have crumbled and no one would have known of this piece of 'jewellery' which brings thousands of tourists to the area, some drawn by the legends or by the landscapes portrayed in various tourist guides and magazines worldwide.

'The value of the works on a 35-kilometre segment of the road infrastructure going over the bridge, its consolidation, included, amounted to over 44 million lei, out of which 31 million represented non-refundable money, from European structural funds,' Aladin Georgescu told AGERPRES.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

The road traffic no longer goes on the structure of 'God's Bridge,' although it is made of massive rock, but on a winding built at the exit from Ponoarele village, for about 5 kilometres, which allows the preservation of the bridge.

'God's Bridge' is a natural protected monument, the largest natural bridge of Romania and the second in Europe (30 metres long, 13 metres wide, 22 metres high and 9 metres thick), being the only one open for road traffic for over 200 years.

Underneath the bridge there flows a river which is said to have lacked life, as Nicodemus cursed the inhabitants of these areas not to have drinking water from this river, because they didn't let him build a monastery nearby. This way, banished from these places, he miraculously reached the place of Tismana, where he built the monastery that appeared in his dreams.

Due to the project conducted by the Mehedinti County Council, the traffic in the mountain area of the counties of Mehedinti, Gorj and Caras Severin increased from 1,196 to 2,500 vehicles per day. Many tourists come to cross the bridge by foot, being positive that only this way they can enter a communion with God and thus heal from sicknesses and sadness. Maybe not by chance Saint Nicodemus, the founder of the Bishopric of Severin and Strehaia, agreed to the construction at the end of 'God's Bridge' of a church with the patron 'Saint Nicodemus of Tismana,' for bringing the mortals to mind that God has been here, as a miracle.

Photo credit: (c) Cristian NISTOR / AGERPRES ARCHIVE

No one really knows where the legend begins and where it ends. It is certain that 'God's Bridge' exists and, for millions of years, since the birth of the Earth, it allowed man to step over a wonderful valley, to the universe of ancestral tales, where time revealed fields with limestone pavement and lilac, stars and magnificent statues carved in the limestone by winds and rains.AGERPRES

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