Bridge of Santo Domingo

The Bridge of Santo Domingo crosses the Guadalmedina River and is located by the Church of Santo Domingo. It is a metallic structure that is for pedestrians only and it connects the church to the Pasillo de Santa Isabel. It is commonly called the "Puente de los Alemanes" (Bridge of the Germans). The history of this bridge is very interesting.

In Dec. 18, 1900, the German Navy training ship "Gneisenau" was anchored at the port of Malaga. Suddenly a very fierce storm came on the city and the ship was rammed against the rocks of the quay. This caused the hull of the ship to break and the ship sunk. The fishermen at the port went to sea to try to rescue the 486 crew members of the ship who were in the water. They were able to rescue most of them, except for 41 men. Unfortunately many fishermen died in the rescue.

The men who were rescued were brought to the hospitals and many were brought to private residences, where the owners took care of the men.

Those German seamen who died were put in a common grave in the English cemetery, and there is a monument to them there. Later the families who took care of the seamen received a letter of thanks from the Kaiser. Because the Malagueños were valiant and saved many lives in the incident at risk to their own lives, the city received the title of "Muy Hospitalaria" (Very Hospitable) from the Royal Crown, which is on the coat of arms of the city.

The story does not end there. On Sept. 3, 1907, the Guadalmedina River went into a rampage because of torrential rains and destroyed many of the bridges that crossed it. When the Germans read the notices in their newspapers, they decided to collect money to help the Malagueños, and this money was used to construct the Bridge of Santo Domingo between 1907 and 1909.

There is a plaque on the bridge that reads: "Alemania donó a Málaga este puente agradecida al heróico auxilio que la ciudad prestó a los náufragos de la fragata de guerra Gneisenau."

(Germany donated this bridge to Malaga in appreciation for the heroic help given by the city to the shipwrecked seamen from the frigate of war Gneisenau).

The City Hall has a beautiful painting by Muñoz Degrain of “El Socorro de los Malagueños a los Naufragos de la Fragata Alemana Gneisenau” (The Rescue by Malagueños of the Shipwrecked from the German Ship Gneisenau).

This is a wonderful story of one city helping citizens of one country and that country responding positively when the first city needed help.