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History of the Elbe ferry

Here at the old Elbe crossing in Coswig a berth ferry was already described in the land register of 1566. This ferry needed 40-60 minutes to cross for the 125m wide river, depending on the water level. At that time there was only room for a horse-drawn carriage with a horse. The Elbe crossing served at that time mainly the Anhalt Princely House as a connection to Woerlitz and Dessau, but also the peasants who brought their haymakers from the river Elbe meadows in Woerlitz to Coswig. Since the ferry was leased as stately property, the ferryman had the obligation to entertain the barges as well. In return for translating the princely family, he received annually a wispel of rye (about 1000kg). For all other passengers, there was no fixed fare, the cost of the crossing had to be negotiated with the ferry operator.

Since Whitsun 1864, the old ferry Coswig has been replaced by a new yaw ferry. The common until this time barge ferry had to be brought under great effort of the ferry people by staking and rowing to the other shore. Due to the strong current of the Elbe, abortion was not always avoidable. The much larger yaw ferry, an invention of the Dutchman Hendrick Heuck, was a significant improvement in every aspect. The carrying capacity was increased and the travel time was reduced from about 40 minutes to 5 minutes. Hydropower relieved the ferry crew of the heavy physical work.

The yaw ferry is anchored at the end of a 250m long wire rope. This partitions just before the ferry. One end is attached to her bow and one at the stern. If the lengths of the ends are changed by rope winches, the angle of attack of the ferry changes to the current. The pressure of the water against the sloping broadside urges the ferry to the other shore. Today's hull is unsinkable, like a pontoon.

In 1978, the ferry still received a cabin on the downstream side of the ferry, which also includes a small space for tools and aids. In 1996/97 the ferry was modernized one last time. Here, the two outriggers were extended by 1.5m, so now buses can drive the ferry. In addition, the wood planks of the floor space were replaced by a corrugated metal surface. The ferry with its motorless drive has a load capacity of over 20 tons.

At normal water level, the river Elbe at Coswig has a water depth of 3m, which is 59.70m above sea level. If the water level reaches 61.20m above sea level, the ferry traffic must be stopped. The ferry operates almost year-round, except for a winter break in the months of December through February. Source: City Administration Coswig / Anhalt

Travel times

Month Monday to Sunday
March 10.00 - 17.00
April 09.00 - 17.30
May 09.00 - 20.30
Juni 09.00 - 20.30
Juli 09.00 - 20.30
August 09.00 - 20.30
September 09.00 - 20.30
October 09.00 - 17.30
November 10.00 - 17.00

In the months of December to February and at flood, no ferry service. During these periods, you can reach us via the access road from Woerlitz.