Like in any other major urban center in the world, there are many legends intertwined in Zagreb city culture. The most famous is certainly the one about the railway bridge over the Sava, better known as the Hendrix Bridge.
Since traveling by train started a bit before the one by the road, the railway bridge over the Sava river is the first bridge built in the Zagreb area. As early as 1862, the first bridge was built at the site, while the present-day iron bridge was built in 1939. At the time of completion, it had the largest arch in Europe and an overall length of 300 meters.
Sometime around 1994, a large red inscription “HENDRIX” appeared on the bridge, which is otherwise green. The work of an unknown author was repainted very quickly, only to have the inscription reappear after a few days. And as many times as they tried to remove it, persistent fans of the guitar virtuoso would paint it back. The inscription itself was large enough to be seen from the promenade along the Sava river and other bridges so that it soon became a symbol of Zagreb’s urban culture.
Many years after the original inscription was created, the author gave a secret interview explaining its origin.
The guys had a rock band and their idols were, among others, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and, of course, Jimmy Hendrix. Like many times before, they went to watch trains crossing the bridge when someone from the group proposed that they could write something on the bridge. The idea was immediately accepted, so they soon returned with a bucket of red paint and two connected brooms. So equipped, they climbed the bridge and wrote their idol’s last name.
When the people responsible for maintainig the bridge painted the name over, the guys in the band would draw it again, unless someone paint it first.
Since no one anymore called the railway bridge any other than the “Hendrix Bridge” and the manifestations related to the bridge began to be called so, like “Hendrix Half Marathon”, the city authorities had no choice but to accept it. So in 2017. the bridge got a new look.
On the fiftieth anniversary of Hendrix’s debut album, “Are You Experienced”, light designer Dean Skira decorated the bridge with colorful lights and a large, also luminous, “Hendrix” sign. As the train approaches the bridge, the lights go out, giving the impression that it disappears, but when the locomotive comes to the bridge, the lights come on in sync with the speed of the train, illuminating the bridge in all its splendor.
Bckground image: Wikimedia Commons