The Göltzsch Viaduct (German: Göltzschtalbrücke) is a railway bridge in Germany. It is the largest brick-built bridge in the world, and for a time it was the tallest railway bridge in the world. It spans the valley of the Göltzsch River between Mylau and Netzschkau, around 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of Reichenbach im Vogtland in the German Free State of Saxony.
The Göltzsch Viaduct was designed by Johann Andreas Schubert, the chairman of the jury judging a contest to see who could figure out how to design a railway bridge over the valley sturdily but cheaply. No one won, but Schubert ended up taking some inspiration from a few of the entries for his own effort.One of the greatest challenges in constructing a railway between Saxony and Bavaria was how to bridge the Göltzsch valley. Hoping to find a financially feasible construction plan, the Saxon-Bavarian Railway Company announced a contest on 27 January 1845 in all major German magazines with prize money of 1000 Thalers. However, none of the 81 submissions could prove by means of structural analysis that it would be able to withstand the stresses of rail traffic on the bridge. The prize money was eventually divided among four contestants, but none of their designs were actually realized.
It was built between 1846 and 1851 as part of the railway between Saxony (Leipzig, Zwickau, and Plauen) and (Hof and Nuremberg). It is currently part of the Leipzig–Hof line, near the Netzschkau station. About 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south, the smaller Elster Viaduct was built for the same line and is quite similar to the Göltzsch Viaduct.
Göltzsch Viaduct is also the name of a much smaller viaduct built in 1938 where Bundesautobahn 72 crosses the Göltzsch River. It sits about 10 km (6 mi) due southeast near the village of Weissensand.
When the Göltzsch Viaduct opened in 1851, it was the tallest railway bridge in the world. Though the Nazi Army considered destroying it during World War II, it remains intact to this day. The bridge is a tremendous sight to see from any angle, and its history can be explored in a nearby museum.