Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Bridges in Poland

A bridge is one of the earliest humans' ideas to overrule nature. The first bridges used to be as simple as spans of wooden logs fallen across a stream or precipice. Later they were made of ropes, beams and stones, and finally as sophisticated structures of iron, concrete and steel. Bridges are important elements of architecture; they are designed for transportation and strategic purposes.
The Polish Post presents a series of 4 stamps with famous Polish bridges constructed in the 19th, 20th and 21st century. The oldest one is a railway bridge in Toruń, and the other bridges are: Poniatowski Bridge in Warsaw, a welded bridge near Łowicz and Siekierkowski Bridge - the newest one in Warsaw. The stamps were printed in sheets of 4 stamps of each type.

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Bridge in Maurzyce
The first welded bridge in the world was designed by engineer Stefan Bryła in 1928. It was built on the Słudwia river (left Bzura's tributary). Welding significantly decreased the bridge's weight; earlier steel elements used to be joined by rivets or bolts. The bridge's weight is 55 tons.



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Ernest Malinowski bridge in Toruń
An iron truss bridge for railway built between 1870-1873 to connect railway lines and serve as fortifications in a lower part of the Vistula river. It covers the so - called Stara Wisła and Kępa Bazarowa.



Its 20 meter high towers were decorated with figures that were removed in 1920 as they reminded of the town's Prussian history.The towers themselves were disassembled in the 50's of the 20th century. By 1934 it was the only bridge in Toruń for trains, cars and pedestrians. The bridge was destroyed two times in the II World War - by the Polish troops (in September 1939) and then by the German troops (in January 1945). After the war, the bridge was rebuilt. In 1999 it was named by Ernest Malinowski - famous engineer who constructed a railway line in the Andes.

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Poniatowski Bridge in Warsaw
Built between 1904-1914 as a Warsaw's third bridge on the Vistula river, designed by engineers M. Marszewski and W. Paszkowski and supervised by S. Szyller - author of the Warsaw University of Technology (Politechnika Warszawska) buildings.



Its characteristic features are neo-Polish renaissance towers and pavilion on the viaduct over Powiśle. Poniatowski bridge was seriously damaged in 1915 by the retreating Russian troops and rebuilt in 1921-1926. It was on this bridge when in 1926, during the May Coup d'Etat, Józef Piłsudski met Stanisław Wojciechowski. The bridge was for the second time destroyed by the German troops during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. Poniatowski bridge was rebuilt after the war (in 1946), however in a poorer shape, without decorative balustrades and some benches.
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Siekierkowski Bridge in Warsaw
Built between 2000-2002, however planned already during the interwar period. It is one of the elements of the 8-km long Trasa Siekierkowska yet to be finished.



This seventh bridge on the Vistula river is a cable-stayed bridge supported by two pylons, with no pillars in the river current. Its characteristic orange cables are to warn and protect birds against any crashing.

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Two First Day Covers depicting parts of bridge structures were also issued.
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