Reszel – High Bridge


   The bridge over the Sajna River in Reszel, called High or Fisher, was probably built around the second half of the 14th century, although the brick structure could have been erected later, even before the mid-16th century. In documents, the bridge was recorded for the first time in 1475 (“bruckeyseyne”), without annotation of its construction technique. In the early modern period, the bridge had to undergo numerous repairs and transformations. Probably 41 oak logs served this purpose, which were stopped in 1564 and caused a conflict between the town council and the starost. Probably in the 17th century the pillars were reinforced with buttresses, and in the 18th century the arcades were walled up, only the culvert at the bottom of the central part was left. In the first half of the 19th century, the bridge was enlarged by an additional, fourth span. In the second half of that century, prison cells were allegedly built in the semicircular arcades, but more likely, they were used as housing for the poor. They were removed before the middle of the 20th century. In the years 1958 – 1960, a thorough renovation of the bridge was carried out, repeated in the years 1994 – 1999, when three arches were reconstructed.


   The bridge was built on the river Sajna, also called the Izera from the German name Zaine or Eiser, in a place where it flowed through a deep gorge with very steep banks. It was placed almost perpendicular to the riverbed. It led to the Fisherman’s Gate, located in the line of the town defensive walls, in the north-eastern part of Reszel. Bridge was built of pebble stones, of which a foundation was created, and of bricks of Gothic dimensions (28 x 14 x 8 cm) laid in a Flemish bond, i.e. alternately with the header and stretcher directed to the face. The bridge was based on massive four-sided pillars, at least two and probably three or four. It is not known whether brick arcades were stretched between them already in the Middle Ages, or whether the upper part of the bridge was still of wooden construction than. The length of the bridge could be about 30-35 meters, and the height of about 12-13 meters.

Current state

   The currently visible bridge differs significantly from the medieval one. Of the Gothic parts, only the lower parts of the western pillars have survived, which were refaced from the outside during repair works. The Gothic eastern pillar was even more rebuilt. Both the arcades and the entire platform are early modern elements, created during numerous repairs and transformations (the present arches for the last time were reconstructed in the 90s with bricks and reinforced concrete). Today, the length of the bridge is 34.9 meters, the height is 17 meters, and the width is 7.4 meters. The original level of the road was about 1.5 meters lower, while the riverbed was slightly higher. The width of the upper part of the bridge was certainly smaller for defensive reasons.

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Biała karta ewidencyjna zabytków architektury i budownictwa, Most Wysoki, K.Madziara, nr 8023, Reszel 1999.
Kuprjaniuk S., Reszel, Reszel 2020.

Reszel. 680 lat historii miasta, red. G.Białuński, R.Klimek, Olsztyn 2006.