According to legend, the first “Devil’s Bridge” was established by the devil himself. The locals of canton Uri, where the bridge stands, were always unsuccessful in their attempts to establish a bridge across the deep gorge. Finally a chief official called out desperately: “Do sell der Tyfel e Brigg bue” (“Let the Devil build a bridge here“) and proposed a pact, that the first soul to cross the bridge would be sacrificed to the devil. After the devil had built the bridge, a goat was sent across; the devil was so enraged, that he got a huge rock with which to smash the bridge. He was countered by a pious woman, who painted a cross on the rock. When the devil saw this, he took flight and let the rock and bridge stand.
The 220 tonne rock stood until 1977, when it was moved 127 metres – with a budget of sFr. 300,000 – in order to clear the way for the Gotthard motorway. In a modern extension of the legend, the moving of the Devil’s Rock is superstitiously made responsible for an inexplicably high number of road accidents on the 16th kilometre of the Gotthard road tunnel.
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