In German there is an expression ‘über die Wupper gehen’ (= ‘to go over the Wupper’), meaning to die, like going over the Jordan or the Styx in other cultures and epochs.
No one knows for sure why the Wupper was chosen for this expression, rather than some better-known German river such as the Rhine or the Elbe, but one local explanation is that the main courthouse of Wuppertal was (and still is) located on an island (called appropriately the Gerichtsinsel = court island) in the Wupper River, while the prison and guillotine in earlier times were on the left bank, so those who were sentenced to death had to be taken ‘over the Wupper’ to be beheaded.
Another thing that is ‘over the Wupper’ (in a different sense) is Wuppertal’s unique suspension railway, the Schwebebahn. It was closed for repairs when I was there, so I can’t show you the trains hovering over the river, but it is scheduled to resume operation at the beginning of August, 2019. In the meantime, they are running a fleet of large articulated buses as a substitute.
The trains on this railway do not run on tracks, but are suspended from a monorail above the river. The Schwebebahn was built from 1897 to 1903 to connect the industrial cities of Barmen, Elberfeld and Vohwinkel. It connected them so well that the three cities were merged in 1929 to form the city of Wuppertal (= Wupper Valley).
My photos and text in this post are from 2019.
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