Hidden Belgium: The viaduct to the Western Front

Hidden Belgium: The viaduct to the Western Front

The impressive iron viaduct near the town of La Calamite/Kelmis was constructed during the First World War to carry German troops rapidly to the Western front.

The work was mainly done by captured Russian soldiers working in terrible conditions. The local museum in La Calamite contains odd ornaments made by the prisoners out of old shell cases, and the local cemetery has graves of nine Russians who died of unknown causes.

The bridge was destroyed by the Belgian army in 1940 to slow down the German invasion. It was later rebuilt by the German army, but destroyed again in 1944. The final version, built after the war, is still used to carry goods trains high above the town.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.

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