kadin-bridge-reflection-480x360Kadin Bridge spans the Struma river near the village of Nevestino in Southwestern Bulgaria.  Built in 1470, the bridge is an aesthetically pleasing example of middle ages Ottoman engineering, demonstrating that a little bit of attention paid to setting, as well as form and function, can make even a simple utilitarian structure beautiful.

The bridge is a three arch design in which the arches rise symmetrically from the sides towards the center, with the disproportionately large central arch supporting the classic humpback shape  seen in many bridges of the period. The construction is of granite blocks.  The great beauty of Kadin Bridge is found in the combination of its silhouette against the sky with its reflection on the water amidst a peaceful landscape surrounding the entire scene.

There are two legends attached to the construction of the bridge.  According to the first, construction of the bridge was difficult and fraught with accidents.  Progress was slow.  In order to ensure successful completion of the project, the builders agreed that a human sacrifice was necessary.  So they agreed to offer whichever of their wives was first to bring them food the following day.  The first to arrive was Struma Nevesta, the wife of Master Manuil, and she was sacrificed for the sake of the project.  Some say her bosy was laid among the bricks inside the bridge.  After that the bridge became known as Nevestin, in Turkish Kadan, which later became Kadin.  Local people add that even today, if you wander down to the river in the dead of night, you can still hear the sobs of the unfortunate woman.  (In Bulgarian, “nevesta” means bride.)

kadin-bridge-central-arch-480x360The second legend says that the bridge was built by the command of Sultan Murad as a wedding gift for a courageous unknown Bulgarian.  While on a journey, he met the wedding part at this spot. Sultan Murad is understood to be the same person as Mohammed II, since the Grand Vizier Isaac Pasha traveled through these parts in 1463 on his way to Bosnia.

According to some authors, the name of the bridge is later, taken from the small stone bridge over the Yiamenski creek, built of Kadia.

All of these tales demonstrate that the history of the Kadin Bridge, a remarkable structure which demands to be noticed,  has taken on a meaning beyond the facts themselves.  As people and cultures have changed around it, it has become one with the unsettled history of the nation.