In the middle of the Latvian countryside is an unusual structure bound to pique the curiosity of anyone who happens upon it. The “Tilts uz nekurienis,” or “Bridge to Nowhere,” is a narrow-gauge railway bridge leading nowhere at all, surrounded on both ends by nothing but a lush green meadow.
The concrete span across the Abava River, just 180 feet long (55 meters), was built in 1940, intended to be part of the new Tukums-Kuldiga rail line that was under construction. It was one of a number of ambitious projects planned by the newly independent and quickly developing republic of Latvia. Then World War II broke out.
With the nation at war, the railway line was never finished. The high costs of civil engineering and construction are a major consideration in building any railroad. As these activities require specialized equipment and personnel, it is not uncommon to have these portions of a project completed ahead of the general track laying.
The abandoned bridge still stands intact, a strange sight in the Irlavas village, near Sāti. To many locals, the lonely Bridge to Nowhere also represents a wartime memorial of sorts. It commemorates the failed effort made by the Germans to continue the bridge during the Nazi occupation of Latvia in the early 1940s. The unique structure may serve no practical purpose, but it belongs to Latvia alone.