CYCLE ARTICLE ABOUT ODESSA
In the list of Odessa main sightseeing attractions you will certainly find a very interesting place– the Mother-in-Law Bridge. This is the longest footbridge in the city. Taking into account that the whole Odessa is filled with various ironic stories, peculiar sense of humor of its locals, you can surely say that construction of many sites didn’t go without humor. The Mother-in-Law Bridge is a good example! Nobody knows for sure the story of its origin, but how many versions are kept by Odessa citizens regarding the origin of the Mother-in-Law Bridge, and the name itself.
One of the simplest versions states that local authorities of Odessa decided to construct the Mother-in-Law Bridgeas a present to the 50th anniversary of the USSR. Unfortunately, construction works were delayed. Opening of this bridge was planned for 1967, but only a year later cityfolk had a chance to cross the bridge. Originally the bridge was named Кomsomolsky, as it connected Komsomolsky boulevard (nowadays it is called Zhvanetsky boulevard) with Primorsky boulevard. Later on it was called Mother-in-Law, supposedly because more and more often young men, tormented by their mothers-in-law, started to throw themselves from the constructed bridge.
Not a very gay story, is it? But there is another one! Chairman of the Party Committee Mikhail Sinitsa lived on Primorsky Boulevard, and he adored pan-cakes cooked by his mother-in-law. And he liked dishes prepared by his mother-in-law so much that he used to visit her several times a day. However, there was a small problem. Sinitsa’s mother-in-law lived far away, on Gogol street. And to get there Sinitsa had to go by-pass across Sabaneev bridge. So, Sinitsa desided to build a bridge from Zhvanetsky to Primorsky boulevards in order to get soonest to his mother-in-law’s and taste her delicious dishes. Odessa people have even written a rhyme about it:
A legend says: they vodka drank
And made a lot of toasts
And through the gullet they decided
To build a footbridge.
Chiselled, light and arched
And having sea-view,
So Sinitsa could bring beautiful presents
To his mother-in law on holidays.
The third version says due to the fact that the bridge is long and narrow it sways in windy weather. Local people started joking: “The bridge sways exactly as a tongue of mother-in-law does!” An interesting fact is that if a few people stand in the center of the bridge and start jumping simultaneously, the bridge will vibrate in the rhythm of jumping. Students of physics department of Odessa University started a tradition to jump on the bridge on the day of their faculty.
Apart from all these versions of origin, the Mother-in-Law bridge in Odessa is one of main sites of attraction in this city. Originally, it was planned in retro style, so it would harmonize with surrounding architectural ensemble. However, later on it was decided to abandon bridge decoration and it was constructed in constructivism popular at that time in the USSR. Reasons why the architectural project of Mother-in-Law bridge was changed are unknown.
The Mother-in-Law bridge spreads along the sea. Located above the Military slope, it is surrounded with picturesque architectural area: from one side – a piece of old Odessa, from the other– Primorsky boulevard. One edge of the bridge is an ancient well and bridge of lovers, the other one is wonderful Vorontsov palace.
The Mother-in-Law bridge has a romantic peculiarity as well. In Odessa, people believe that if a newly wedded couple hangs a lock with engraved names and date of wedding on the bridge, their love will be endless and strong as the lock. In 2009, it took only a few days for officers of community services to destroy the romantic part of the bridge. They cut off all the locks of “love” because of big loading and necessity to paint it. Not all Odessa citizens believe it, but they saved the tradition and new locks appear on the bridge, bringing names of people in love and new hopes.
Walking along Primorsky boulevard, you will obligatory come to the Mother-in-Law bridge. Don’t miss a chance to walk along this bridge and feel the energy of the new tradition of lovers, see wonderful Odessa view and exciting sea panorama!
Author Marina Melnichenko