Built between 1900 and 1901, the Dragon Bridge, originally named Jubilee Bridge (Jubilejni most), is one of Ljubljana's most typical examples of Art Nouveau architecture. It is Slovenia's first bridge paved with asphalt, Ljubljana's first reinforced concrete bridge and one of the earliest reinforced concrete bridges in Europe. Its designer was Professor Josef Melan, a famous engineer specializing in reinforced concrete bridge engineering and the father of the theory underlying static calculations for large arched bridges.
The Art Nouveau appearance of the Dragon Bridge is due to the Dalmatian architect Jurij Zaninović, who studied under Professor Otto Wagner. He designed the Bridge's decorative concrete covering, balustrades and sheet-copper dragon statues, which became a symbol of Ljubljana. Zaninović's original design envisaged winged lions instead of dragons. The lamps on the balustrades, which used to be fuelled by gas, are part of the Bridge's original decoration.
The Dragon Bridge across the Ljubljanica river was built to replace an old wooden bridge built in 1819 and known as the Butchers' Bridge (Mesarski most). For economy reasons, the municipal authorities, who commissioned the building of a new bridge, decided to finance a reinforced concrete construction instead of a more expensive and less fashionable stone one.