‘God’s Bridge’, the Natural Bridge of Mehedinti, Romania
The natural bridge or ‘God’s Bridge’, as it is called by the locals, situated in Ponoarele, Mehedinti County is the second largest in Europe.
‘God’s Bridge’ is a natural protected monument, the largest natural bridge in Romania and the second in Europe (30 meters long, 13 meters wide, 22 meters high and 9 meters thick), being the only road accessible to traffic for over 200 years.
Linking Baia de Arama and Drobeta, God’s Bridge is a natural structure formed after the ceiling of a cave collapsed. The natural vault resembles the ancient Roman bridges and this natural arch bears a 6m road, which is used by cars and heavy vehicles. The bridge is a massive structure of stratified limestone layers of 1 to 2 meters and is placed between two carst lakes, Zatonul Mare and Zatonul Mic. Natural bridges like this also exist in the U.S. and France but God’s Bridge is the only one circulated.
There are several legends linked to this bridge: one of them says the Devil lived in Ponoarele Cave and the locals asked God to banish him, thus God pummeled the cave’s ceiling which collapsed and blocked the entrance. But the Devil escaped through the other end of the cave and climbed the Devil’s Rock, a place from where he guards the people who enter and sometimes he drowns them in the Zatonul Mare Lake.
Yet, it seems that God protects the ones who pass over the bridge: in the past years, several bikes, cars and trucks fell off the bridge, 25 meters, but the drivers got away with minor injuries.