Bridges of Malaga

There are many bridges that cross the Guadalmedina River near downtown Malaga. Guadalmedina was the Moorish word that meant "river of the town." This is some interesting background for these bridges.

1. Puente del Carmen - The bridge nearest the port is the Puente del Carmen, which joins Avenida Manuel Agustin Heredia with Plaza de Toros Vieja. This bridge was constructed in 1926 and it gets its name from the nearby Iglesia del Carmen. The last reconstruction of this bridge took place in 1939.

2. Puente de la Misericordia - This bridge starts at the Avenida de la Aurora and crosses the river near the CAC Museum, and leads to the Alameda de Colon. The bridge is named after the Cristo de la Misericordia, the name of a cofradia that is headquartered at the Church of El Carmen, which is in the barrio nearby. The word "misericordia" means mercy, so "Cristo de la Misericordia" means "Merciful Christ".

3. Puente de Tetuan - This bridge joins the Alameda Principal with the Avenida de Andalucia. The first bridge was built in 1860 and its engineer was Luis Gracian y Reboul. Tetuan was the name of a battle that Spain won in 1860 in Morocco, so the bridge was named Tetuan to commemorate that victory.

4. Puente de la Esperanza - This is the bridge that joins Calle Hilera and Atarazanas and was built in 1995. Its name comes from the nearby Church of La Esperanza and its cofradia, the Casa Hermandad de la Cofradia de La Esperanza. "Esperanza" means hope.

5. Puente de Santo Domingo - This small pedestrian bridge is a metallic structure that joins the Pasillo de Santa Isabel with the Pasillo de Santo Domingo. The bridge is also called Puente de los Alemanes (Bridge of the Germans). The history of this bridge is very interesting.

In Dec. 18, 1900, the German Navy training ship "Gneisenau" was anchored at the port of Malaga. Suddenly a very fierce storm came on the city and the ship was rammed against the rocks of the quay. This caused the hull of the ship to break and the ship sunk. The fishermen at the port went to sea to try to rescue the 486 crew members of the ship who were in the water. They were able to rescue most of them, except for 41 men. Unfortunately many fishermen died in the rescue.

The men who were rescued were brought to the hospitals and many were brought to private residences, where the owners took care of the men.

Those German seamen who died were put in a common grave in the English cemetery, and there is a monument to them there. Later the families who took care of the seamen received a letter of thanks from the Kaiser. Because the Malagueños were valiant and saved many lives in the incident at risk to their own lives, the city received the title of "Muy Hospitalaria" (Very Hospitable) from the Royal Crown, which is on the coat of arms of the city.

The story does not end there. On Sept. 3, 1907, the Guadalmedina River went into a rampage because of torrential rains and destroyed many of the bridges that crossed it. When the Germans read the notices in their newspapers, they decided to collect money to help the Malagueños, and this money was used to construct the Bridge of Santo Domingo between 1907 and 1909.

There is a plaque on the bridge that reads: "Alemania donó a Málaga este puente agradecida al heróico auxilio que la ciudad prestó a los náufragos de la fragata de guerra Gneisenau."

(Germany donated this bridge to Malaga in appreciation for the heroic help given by the city to the shipwrecked seamen from the frigate of war Gneisenau).

The City Hall has a beautiful painting by Muñoz Degrain of “El Socorro de los Malagueños a los Naufragos de la Fragata Alemana Gneisenau” (The Rescue by Malagueños of the Shipwrecked from the German Ship Gneisenau).

This is a wonderful story of one city helping citizens of one country and that country responding positively when the first city needed help.

6. Puente de la Trinidad - This bridge joins the Pasillo de Santa Isabel with the Pasillo de Guimbarda and was built around 1995. It is similar in structure to the Puente de Santo Domingo and gets its name from the Barrio de la Trinidad, which is adjacent.

7. Puente de la Aurora - This bridge joins the Rampa de la Aurora with Calle Marmoles. It gets its name from the nearby Iglesia Convento de la Aurora Maria. The construction of this bridge terminated in 1930. It was first named after King Alfonso XIII, who laid the first stone in 1921, but later was changed to its present name.

8. Puente de Armiñan - This bridge joins Cruz del Molinillo and Avenida Doctor Galvez Ginachero. Luis de Armiñan Perez was a man who was born in Cuba and later became the Director of Public Works in Malaga and advocated the construction of the bridge. After he left his post, the bridge was finally built in 1911 and the Malagueños decided to name it after Armiñan. Armiñan was also named Adopted Son of Malaga because he was loved by the citizens.

9. Puente de la Rosaleda - This bridge joins Avenida Jorge Silvela and Avenida Luis Buñuel. It was constructed in 1982 for the Mundial de Futbol. The nearby futbol stadium of La Rosaleda gives it its name.

Reference: Callejero Malagueño, by Domingo Merida.