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The Bridge at Andau – a symbol of humanity

About 10km away from Andau, a narrow wooden bridge leads over the Einser Canal. In the interval between the two World Wars and after WW2, the bridge provided the villagers of Andau with a crossing point into Hungary. From the start of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 (from the 23rd October to the 4th November 1956) Hungarians used this bridge as a means to cross the border.

When the Red Army began to violently suppress the Hungarian Revolution on the 4th November 1956, the stream of refugees became a flood.

The community of Andau showed an enormous willingness to help at this time. Numerous reception centres (in schools, kindergartens, cinemas and official buildings) were opened, which took in refugees round the clock. After one to two days the refugees were taken in busses to larger centres.

The bridge was blown up suddenly on the 21st November. The border was strongly manned and watched by Hungarian and Russian border patrols. Despite this, hundreds of refugees still managed to cross the border, arriving exhausted, wet and cold at the nearest border post in Andau.

Between 70 000 and 80 000 people crossed the border at Andau.

In the 1992 the “Association for International Understanding – The Bridge at Andau” was founded. The Association hosted international symposiums for artists in Andau between 1992 and 1996. The sculptures resulting from these gatherings were set up along the former Road to Freedom from the Einser Canal to Andau. The 10km road has become a unique open-air gallery for those on wheels and on foot, and is a highly visible symbol for the “rejection of violence, intolerance, inhumanity, contempt of humankind and racism”. (The sculptures remain the property of their creators and are not restored by the municipality).

The Association also arranged for the reconstruction of the bridge, which was rebuilt at its original site by sappers from the Austrian army and opened during a ceremony on the 20 September 2006. (WAB 116: „Vom Traum zum Trauma. Ungarnaufstand `56. Begleitband zur Ausstellung, Eisenstadt 2006, S. 46-54.)

Cultural events

Apart from the most important historical landmark in Andau, visitors will also find numerous other cultural events to visit all year round.

Carnival (“Fasching”) in Andau is opened with the traditional carnival parade on Fasching Sunday and is celebrated in various locations until Shrove Tuesday.

One can enjoy the first warm rays of sun and greet the first blooms of spring during the Easter Walk on Easter Monday.

The festival celebrating the founding of the parish church (“Kirtag”) hosted by the Wine Farmers Association and the sports festival at Pentecost are popular events in the Andauer year.

On Cycle Day in July, fans of bicycles can take part in a cross-border 40km-long cycling tour.

The Fire Brigade Festival is celebrated over two days in August and attracts many visitors from neighbouring villages.

The Andau market days take place four times a year and are an excellent opportunity to find bargains and buy souvenirs to take back home.

Visitors can taste the new wines of the season during the Day of the Open Cellar Doors and around Martini on the 11 November.

You can get into a Christmas mood during the Advent market in December.

Tourist attractions

Mönchhof Village Museum: www.dorfmuseum.at
Halbturn Palace: www.schlosshalbturn.com
Opera Festival in the Roman Quarry of St Margarethen: www.ofs.at
Operetta Festival in Mörbisch: www.seefestspiele-moerbisch.at
Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt: www.esterhazy.at/schloss-esterhazy