Orlin Sabev, The Unimagined History of an Imagined Bridge Over the Danube between Giurgiu and Ruse

Orlin Sabev, Institute for Balkan Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia
pp. 151-192
Online publication date: 
Danube River, iron bridge, railways, Romania, Ottoman Empire

The paper deals with a construction project discussed between Romania and the Ottoman Empire between 1870 and 1875. The project aimed at the construction of a “fixed and permanent” bridge over the Danube River in order to connect the existing railways between Bucharest and Giurgiu (1869), on the one hand, and Ruse and Varna (1866), on the other. The project aimed also to provide a railway connection between Bucharest and Varna, the biggest port city on the western shore of the Black Sea, as well as between Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The documents, dating from the period of 1870–1875 and preserved in the Romanian and Turkish archives, reveal the negotiations between the state institutions of the two countries. While the Ottoman side preferred to order the bridge construction to a private company by way of concession, the Romanian state suggested that the two countries should construct it as a joint venture. This discordance led to the failure of the project that was brought into effect only in 1954 by the construction of the so-called Friendship Bridge (now called Danube Bridge).