Mikulov

Repair of the Bridge

Thanks to the inimitable quality of the bricks made by Mikulov’s skilful brickmakers of the 17th century, the construction has been preserved to this day. As the whole area had been tightly enclosed over the period of 40 years under the totalitarian regime, the bridge was in a state of disrepair when the restoration carried out from 2019 to 2020 saved it for the future.

The whole reconstruction was rather demanding. When the work began, the bridge was for the most part covered in earth and almost completely overgrown by greenery. The first thing to do was to uncover the bridge. This involved removing of earth around the bridge, cutting of wind-dispersed trees and shrubs and clearing of deposits from the carriageway of the bridge. Only then the actual extent of damage of the bridge could be established.

When the work began, the bridge was for the most part covered in earth and almost completely overgrown by greenery. The first thing to do was to uncover the bridge. This involved removing of earth around the bridge, cutting of wind-dispersed trees and shrubs and clearing of deposits from the carriageway of the bridge. Only then the actual extent of damage of the bridge could be established. The process of repairing of the bridge can be divided into two parts. One focuses on the repair of the existing lower part below the bridge ledge and the other on replacement of its missing brick railing. Within the reconstruction of the lower part of the bridge we endeavoured to use the greatest possible amount of the original bricks that had been found during extraction of the earth around the bridge. The bricks were made in the first half of the 17th century and are very good quality. Most of them are marked with the letter N (for Nikolsburg). The missing brick railing of the bridge was then built of the bricks originating from the mid-19th century. The brick railing was built up to its original height and it was extended by a simple forged section to reach the height of 110 cm. The steel railing of a simple design manifests its contemporary character, so it is obvious also to a lay visitor that the railing is not part of the original bridge. This solution complies with the present legal requirements for safe operation of the construction as well as those of the conservationists.

The whole reconstruction was a demanding project. There were a lot of surprises in store for us during the works. For example, after clearing the bridge deck of the layer of earth, in some places of up to half a metre thick, the original limestone cubes from the time of the bridge construction (the 1st half of the 17th century) were found. The paving was repaired and for the sake of its protection is now hidden underneath a threshing floor. There were many cracks detected in the arches and bottom sections of the bridge, which had to be structurally secured. Also the stone columns of the bridge had been rather extensively damaged and the missing stones had to be newly hewed and added where needed.

The project aim was also to make the bridge accessible. In the past, the bridge was connected to a road network which, however, fell into disrepair after the Second World War. The roads have been resurfaced within the project and now lead as far as the village of Drasenhofen. We have also developed an educational trail in the area for visitors to get their bearings and learn some interesting facts about the site. The trail includes 7 stops (6 infopanels and 1 resting point).

After the completion of excavations and earth removing around the bridge, the groundwater started rising during the construction works. By the end of the winter break, the levels of Rybniční brook and the stretch of water around the bridge became equal. Therefore it was necessary to alter the part of the project which tackled the return of the stream to its bed from its temporary diversion. Finally, it is planned for a small lake to be created around the repaired bridge, so it could again be reflected on the water surface.

Záměrem projektu byla nejen oprava mostu, ale také jeho zpřístupnění. V minulosti na most navazovala cestní síť, která však po 2. světové válce zcela zanikla, most tak byl úplně nepřístupný. V rámci projektu Portz Insel byly tedy tyto cesty znovu obnoveny. Ty nyní vedou až k rakouskému Drasenhofenu. V rámci projektu byla rovněž pro snadnější orientaci návštěvníků v této lokalitě vybudována naučná stezka.

Finding of the original limestone paving

Finding of the original limestone paving

Stone slab found during bridge repairs

Kamenná deska nalezená v průběhu opravy mostu pod dodatečně dozděným obloukem mostu po zrušeném dřevěném padacím poli. Letopočet 1780 je doplněn písmeny C.F.V.D., které znamenají Carl Fürst von Dietrichstein. Jsou to tedy iniciály tehdy vládnoucího knížete Karla Maxmiliána z Dietrichsteina (1702 – 1784).

Original limestone paving

Original limestone paving

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