Local History

Basel, Basilisk Wettsteinbrücke Photo/Bild: TES.

The Wettsteinbrücke and its Guardian

The Wettsteinbrücke (bridge), named after a mayor of Basel (Johann Rudolf Wettstein 1594-1666), was ready on 7 June 1879.

The rapid growth of the trade and the population of Grossbasel and Kleinbasel made a second bridge over the Rhine necessary.

The increased car traffic and the construction of a tramway led to the first widening of the bridge in 1939.

There was collateral damage, however: the four Basilisks that guarded the access on both sides of the Rhine were removed.

One Basilisk was moved to the Lange Erlen Animal Park (Tierpark) in Basel, the second to a courtyard in Basel and a third to the village Meggen on the shores of Lake of Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee).

The fourth Basilisk also went into exile but was replaced after the renovation and second widening of the bridge in 1996.