Bad Kreuznach's landmark - the bridge houses
The Brückenhäuser bridge houses are an architectural gem and the landmark of Bad Kreuznach. They are timber structures and were built from 1480 onwards due to a shortage of land.
The houses stand on the Alte Nahebrücke bridge, which was built of stone in 1300. Standing on eight supporting columns (called “piers”), it spans the two arms of the Nahe river flowing through the town: the Nahe and the Mühlenkanal - a channel of water supplying the mill. The bridge over the Mühlenkanal is the only remaining piered bridge which is historically intact. The Alte Nahebrücke bridge was the point where two highways crossed and back then it was part of the town walls. Nobody was actually allowed to build on this bridge, but between 1480 and 1600 as space became scarce within the town walls the townspeople gradually erected “illegal buildings” on the piers. The gunpowder stores of the bridge fortifications became the cellars of the Brückenhäuser.
There is a particularly impressive view of the Brückenhäuser from the Geißenbrücke bridge over the Mühlenkanal, not far from the Pauluskirche church. From here, you can see the distinctive method of construction. Wooden buttresses support those parts of the houses that jut out, so when the river runs high the houses remain virtually untouched. One of the Brückenhäuser has a cannon ball mounted in its facade, a reminder of the time when the town was besieged and captured by the Spanish and the Swedes during the Thirty Years’ War (1620 and 1632 respectively).