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News 18 Dec 14

New Bridge's Grave Look Upsets Belgraders

The marble panel marking the opening of a new bridge in Belgrade upset many Serbs on account of its resemblance to a cemetery headstone - and has since been hurriedly removed.

Ivana Nikolic
A panel brought by the Chinese reading the name of the bridge. Photo Twitter

The opening of a new bridge across the Danube in Belgrade has been spoiled by a row over the black marble panel commemorating the event, which looked remarkably like traditional gravestone - and has since been removed.

The stone was built by the Chinese and brought to Serbia as a gift, the Ministry of Construction, Traffic and Infrastructure, explained.

However, the appearance of the marble panel, written in Serbian and Chinese and dedicated to the scientist Mihajlo Pupin, caused dismay and mocking laughter, with some saying it looked like Pupin's gravestone.

"In 50 years time, people passing the bridge will think Pupin jumped off the bridge and his rich family made him a gravestone," one hostile tweet observed, concerning the panel.

Following an outcry on Twitter and Facebook, ridiculing both the look of the panel and the authorities who placed it there, it was replaced on Wednesday.

“We are grateful to them [the Chinese]; it was a sign of their friendship... We had asked them for something in line with our customs and tradition,” Infrastructure Minister Zorana Mihajlovic explained on Serbian TV on Wednesday.

Construction of the "Chinese Bridge", as it is popularly called in Serbia, started in late October 2011. The main contractor was the Chinese company, the China Road and Bridge Corporation.

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