It may be “just” a bridge – but what a bridge! The Mittlere Brücke has come to symbolise the city of Basel. Opened back in 1226, it is one of the oldest Rhine crossings between Lake Constance and the North Sea.
The bridge was initially used for local traffic, but in the 14th century, as the route over the Gotthard Pass took on international significance, it became an important Rhine crossing for long-distance trade. With the advent of electric trams – the “Drämmli” - the bridge had to make way for the new Mittlere Brücke, built in 1905 using granite from the north side of the Gotthard Massif. A copy of the old bridge chapel, the so-called “Käppelijoch”, where convicted criminals were sentenced to death in the Middle Ages, was erected in memory of the original structure – and is a wonderful place to enjoy the view of the Rhine.
The Mittlere Brücke links the fashionable Old Town on the left bank – known for the cathedral and Barfüsserplatz – with Kleinbasel, a district traditionally inhabited by workers and immigrants. Right next to the Mittlere Brücke, the Rhine boats moor at the pier. From here you can take a cruise to the Jean Tinguely Museum or even as far as Weil am Rhein, site of the Vitra Design Museum.