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Puente de los Alemanes

Germany gave Málaga this bridge, thanking the city for aiding Gneisenau's shipwrecked crew.

The story of Santo Domingo Bridge, popularly known as the German Bridge, which crosses the Guadalmedina river, dates back to 1900. That's when the German navy's training ship Gneisenau arrived in the city, assigned to the area for surveillance and observation due to the ongoing unrest in Morocco.

On December 16th, 1900, with the Gneisenau anchored off Málaga Port, the day dawned calm at sea, but hours later a storm broke out causing the ship to crash into the dock rocks. This collision ripped open a hole, sinking the ship. Out of its 466 crew members, 41 perished, and a hundred were injured. They were cared for in various city hospitals, the German Consulate, and even in private homes that offered their aid.

Families that took in the sailors later received thank you letters signed by the Kaiser himself, moved by the city's hospitality and the bravery of Málaga's fishermen who set out to sea to rescue the shipwrecked crew. Some paid with their own lives, a heroic act that garnered international media attention. The next chapter in the story of the German Bridge was written in September 1907, during the great flood that ravaged Málaga, destroying several bridges that crossed the Guadalmedina, including the original Santo Domingo Bridge.

The Kaiser's acknowledgement of the bravery of Málaga's inhabitants led to the renovation and restoration of the bridge

News of this tragic flood reached Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor and the last King of Prussia, who encouraged a generous public donation to rebuild the bridge, an effort joined by a large German community that had been in the city since the late 19th century. This is why it's popularly known as the German Bridge, although its official name is Santo Domingo Bridge.

Construction began in August 1909, and the bridge was opened on December 16th, marking nine years since the Gneisenau disaster. The gratitude for the city's hospitality to the injured sailors didn't stop with the building of the bridge. In 1984, due to the deterioration of the walkway, it was restored by the Federal Republic of Germany government.

This heroic act by the Málaga fishermen earned Málaga the title of "Very Hospitable", which now proudly adorns the city's crest. The bridge, a metallic structure, was shifted in 1992 to align at a 90-degree angle with Santo Domingo church. But it will forever be known as the German Bridge and stands as a symbol of Málaga's hospitality and the bond between the two communities.

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