Anyone crossing the Guadalmedina river, heading from the city centre out west, is likely to have crossed the Puente de los Alemanes (Bridge of the Germans). But have you ever wondered how it got its name?
The story begins on 16 December 1900, when a frigate belonging to the Imperial German Navy, the SMS Gneisenau, crashed into the harbour breakwater. The Gneisenau was a training ship which was sent with a crew of 470 men to pick up a diplomat. Battered by a storm, she went aground just outside the port of Malaga and sank.
In total, 42 German lives were lost, including the captain and chief engineer. All of them are buried in the English Cemetery.
The death toll would have been much higher without the brave assistance of locals who threw themselves into the water to try and help. Twelve ‘malagueños’ died as a result.
A few years later, on the night of 23 to 24 September 1907, catastrophic floods caused the destruction of several bridges across the Guadalmedina river. When the news reached Germany, money was raised to help the people of Malaga recover from the catastrophe, led mainly by Kaiser Wilhelm II. With that money, the Puente de los Alemanes was built.
On the bridge there is a plaque which reads:
Alemania donó a Málaga este puente agradecida al heroico auxilio que la ciudad prestó a los náufragos de la fragata de guerra Gneisenau.
(Germany donated this bridge to Malaga in gratitude for the city’s heroic aid to the shipwrecked war frigate Gneisenau.)