Bratislava, Slovakia – The newest bridge connecting the Czech Republic and Slovakia has been inaugurated, local media reported, with the aim of spotlighting the shared past of the two countries.
The 143-metre long bridge over the Morava river connecting the two neighbours opened to the public after more than one year of construction, which started in September last year. Spearheaded by the Czech South Moravian and the Slovak Trnava regions, the bridge is said to have cost around 100 million Kc (around €4 million), most of it funded by the European Union.
The bridge, only meant for pedestrians and cyclists wishing to cross between Czech Republic and Slovakia, connects Mikulčice, known for its Slavic fortified settlement and memorial to Great Moravia, on the Czech side; and Kopčany, home to the famous Church of St. Margaret of Antioch and the baroque stud farm, on the Slovak side (and also, for the lovers of natural beauty, home to a famous tree which competed for the European Tree of the Year award this year).
The new pathway aims to facilitate cross-border tourism between the two nations and, more importantly, connect the Great Moravian monuments located on both sides of the river, famed archaeological and cultural sites which local authorities wish to add to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
“The Mikulčice Memorial and its entire site is not only a symbol, but a living place that bears witness to our history. I believe that this footbridge will not only serve tourists, but also contribute to the knowledge of our common history”, argued the governor of the South Moravian region, Bohumil Simek (ANO).
One of the oldest Slavic states, Great Moravia was a 9th century principality encompassing, among other territories, part of modern-day Czech Republic and Slovakia.