Dresden 'eyesore' Elbe bridge opens after Unesco row

Crowds on the Waldschloesschen bridge, Dresden (24 August)
Image caption Hundreds of people streamed across the Waldschloesschen (Little Castle in the Woods) bridge during the opening day on Saturday.
Saxony's Premier Stanislaw Tillich and Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dresden (24 August)
Image caption The premier of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, and Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz officially cut the ribbon. Unsurprisingly, no Unesco officials were present.
Vietnamese residents of Dresden at the opening ceremony of the new bridge (24 August)
Image caption Members of the Vietnamese community put on their finery for the opening ceremony.
Visitors on Dresden's controversial Waldschloesschen bridge after the opening ceremony (24 August)
Image caption On Monday the new bridge will begin carrying vehicle traffic over the River Elbe.
Pedestrians on the Waldschloesschen bridge, Dresden (24 August)
Image caption But pedestrians had exclusive access for its first weekend in service.
Pillnitz Palace on the banks of the River Elbe, Dresden (file photo)
Image caption Unesco removed Dresden from its World Heritage list because it said the new bridge would ruin the vista of palaces along the River Elbe.

A controversial bridge in the German city of Dresden has opened despite objections from the UN heritage body Unesco, which removed Dresden from its World Heritage list in protest.

The four-lane structure over the River Elbe was inaugurated on Saturday and will open to vehicle traffic on Monday.

Dresden is the first European site ever to be de-listed by Unesco, which said the bridge marred the view of the city's magnificent baroque palaces.

The new bridge cost 182m euros (£156m).

Construction was approved in a local referendum in 2005, with more than two-thirds of Dresden's voters giving their support.

The BBC's Steve Evans in Berlin says it was a bridge too far for Unesco, which has 981 World Heritage Sites, ranging from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border.

It took Dresden off the list in 2009. Environmental organisations also launched legal proceedings to get the bridge stopped but without success.

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