The Krämerbrücke or the Merchant’s Bridge is an inhabited bridge in the German city of Erfurt that spans the Breitstrom, a branch of Gera River. The bridge is lined on both sides by tightly packed half timbered houses and a narrow alley runs along the center. The houses are occupied by shops selling all kinds of traditional crafts and fabrics, hand-painted ceramics, hand-blown glassware, jewellery, wood carvings, and antiques. There are also cafes and eateries offering delicious Thuringian specialties. The bridge is unique in Europe, and is often compared to Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
The Krämerbrücke was originally built from wood in 1117 as part of the trade route Via Regia, but after repeated fires, the city council decided to rebuild the bridge with stone. The stone bridge was completed in 1325. It was provided with half-timbered houses and two stone churches on each end. The city suffered from another devastating fire in 1472 which destroyed nearly half of the city along with nearly all the houses on the bridge. The bridge was reconstructed in its current form with 62 buildings, but subsequent redevelopment have left just 32 now. Out of the two bridgehead churches, only one — the Church of St. Aegidius remains at the eastern end of the bridge today.
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