It was officially opened for operation on June 20, 1954, being at the time the largest combined bridge (with a railway line and for road traffic) in all of Europe. However, these are things you probably already know, so here’s a little more about his story:
The ceremonial commissioning of the steel Danube bridge between Ruse and Giurgiu is a landmark event for the already distant 1954. For six decades now, it has provided a connection for Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey not only with Romania, but also with the whole of Northern Europe, as the bridge known as the Danube bridge-2 was opened a full six decades later.
Attempts to build bridges at Rousse began shortly after the New Era, when the Romans built the first massive bridge over the river. Studies for other similar facilities were also made around the Crimean War, until we reach 1948. A year in which a “treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance” was signed between the socialist republics of Bulgaria and Romania and a decision was made to build a bridge between the two countries.
The start of the project was given at the end of 1951, and the cities of Ruse and Gyurghevo were chosen. This is an undertaking of exceptional geopolitical and strategic importance for the so-called Eastern Bloc. The first name of the bridge was “Object 889”, it was designed and built by Soviet specialists. At the same time – under complete secrecy. In addition to Bulgaria and Romania, representatives of the “fraternal socialist countries” – Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary – also take part in the work. The architecture of the bridge is the work of Georgi Ovcharov, and the artistic design (the portals on the Bulgarian and Romanian shores and the eagle heads along its length) is the work of the Ukrainian sculptor Mykhailo Parashchuk.
The speeches of the three most important participants in the celebration in 1954 have also been preserved in the “Gold Fund” of the BNR. The chairman of the Council of Ministers of the NRB, Valko Chervenkov, was the first to speak, the BNR reported.
“This magnificent bridge is the fruit of the fraternal economic cooperation between the USSR and the socialist countries. It is a new, bright embodiment of their peace-loving policy, of the strong friendship between them and the selfless and irreplaceable help that the Soviet Union provides them. The Danube Bridge will connect more -closely above all Bulgaria and Romania, but it is also a new element of solder between all the people’s democratic countries that took part in its construction. It will increase and facilitate the exchange of goods, road and rail passenger movement. In this sense, it is of international importance.
It was built according to the last word of Soviet science and practice in bridge construction. Allow me to express my warm gratitude to the Government and all those working in the NRB for the fact that the Soviet Union gave some of its greatest specialists in this field. And the Hungarian, Czechoslovak and Polish People’s Democratic Republics supplied it with valuable machines, equipment and metal structures.
Six years ago, the great son of our people, Georgi Dimitrov, said in Bucharest: “We have decided to build an iron bridge over the Danube and we will do it. But both before and after its construction, we must build a living bridge through work, art, culture and friendship in the souls and hearts of both nations. A bridge that no one will be able to break.”
The bridge was opened on June 20, 1954 by the then leaders of the two countries, Valko Chervenkov and Gheorghe Georgiou-Dezh, and it took 2.5 years to build.
A curious fact from the history of the Danube Bridge, which confirms the words of Leonid Saprikin – after the commissioning, the bridge was repaired only in 1999, and the renovation activities continued until 2004.