Ponts couverts

“Ponts couverts”, Ponts Couverts, Strasbourg, 2014.

In Barrage I presented you the downstream part of the fortifications of Strasbourg; here is the upstream, older part, the Ponts couverts (covered bridges).

Around 1250, new fortifications were build in the area, to avoid an enemy to attack along the river. Those fortifications were made of three wooden bridges connecting four towers (from North to the South, the Henkersturm (tower of the executioner), the Malzenturm, the Heinrichsturm, the Hans von Altheimturm and the Französicheturm). The bridges were covered with a wooden structure to protect the defenders from projectiles, whence the name of the place.

All along the Middle Ages, the system was enhanced: in 1332 the wooden piles of the bridges were replaced by stone piles (but the floor was still in wood) and in 1392 a chain is tighten between the banks of the river, in addition to this chain, portcullis were installed under the bridges in 1567. At the same period, around 1534, the fortification was adapted to artillery: red spots you see there mark the embrasures from where cannons could fired on any ships trying to enter. It was then possible to install more than thirty cannons, without counting the ones which could have been installed on the top of the platform, that was a lot of firepower.

After the building of the Barrage Vauban, the fortification wasn’t really necessary any more and the towers were converted into prisons and the bridges were rebuilt in their current form in 1863. However the Malzenturm was razed after a fire in 1869.


Available as a print here!


Tools and exifs:

  • Canon EOS 450D + Canon 18-55 IS
  • 18mm
  • 15 s.
  • f/10
  • ISO 100

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