The most beautiful bridges
For thousands of years, bridges have been constructed to make transportation easier, thereby allowing cities and empires to flourish. But some bridges do more than just get you from point A to point B; instead, they marry form and function in unforgettable ways. Among the most iconic structures in the world, the best bridges rise to the level of art and become a permanent part of the landscape, seemingly encapsulating the local character. Each with a unique design and backstory, here are the 20 most beautiful bridges in the world.
Chengyang Bridge, Sanjiang County, China – The ‘wind and rain’ bridges are feats of architectural brilliance, and all are built without a single nail or bolt to hold them together. Built by the Dong people of China, these covered bridges are beautiful examples of Chinese architecture and are constructed using only stone and wood.
Pont du Gard, Gard River, France – The Pont du Gard Bridge began life as an aqueduct system that transported water to the Roman city of Nemausus and is a testament to the incredible building skills of the Romans. Built more than 2000 years ago, the Pont du Gard descends only 56 feet over 30 miles and was able to deliver around 5 million gallons of water to the city every day.
Millau Viaduct Bridge, Midi-Pyrénées, France – Built in 2004, this elegant structure has already become a symbol of great pride to the French population, and came about after a collaboration between a French engineer and an English architect. At 1125 feet, it is considered to be the world’s tallest bridge and runs through some of the most beautiful areas of the French countryside.
Brooklyn bridge, New York – Following 14 years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge officially opened in May 1883 and quickly became a New York City icon. Connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River, this National Historic Landmark is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. The original designer, John Augustus Roebling, passed away during construction, leaving his son, Washington, to take over and finish the grueling project. It’s estimated that about 4,000 people walk across the bridge each day, in addition to 120,000 vehicles and 3,100 cyclists
Golden gate bridge, San Francisco – With a 4,200-foot-long suspension span—a record-setting length when it opened in 1937—the Golden Gate Bridge is one of San Francisco’s most popular man made marvels. The bridge runs across the Golden Gate Strait, giving the structure its name, and makes it possible for travelers to get from San Francisco and Marin to the northern areas of California. Its’ famous orange color was inspired by the state’s warm setting. On its opening day, more than 200,000 people crossed the bridge to celebrate.
Tower bridge, London – A combination bascule and suspension bridge, this Gothic-style landmark gives visitors passage across the Thames. Construction of the Tower Bridge began in 1886 and took eight years to complete; it’s well known for its rising roadways that allow ships to sail beneath. The bridge itself holds a North Tower Lounge, walkways (including a new glass one) for visitors to view the London skyline, and the Victorian Engine Rooms, in addition to an exhibit about the structure’s history, called the Tower Bridge Experience. The color of the bridge has evolved over the years and was last painted red, white, and blue in 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
Zubizuri bridge, Spain – The Zubizuri (meaning “white bridge” in Basque) stretches across the Nervion River in Spain, connecting Campo Volantin’s right bank to the left bank of Uribitarte. This footbridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, opened in 1997 and features a glass deck that lights up at night. Although the glass path can get slippery on a rainy day, many use the bridge to reach the nearby Guggenheim Museum.
Vasco De Gama bridge – Sprawling approximately 11 miles, the Vasco da Gama is a true architectural feat. Because of the bridge’s length, engineers needed to consider the Earth’s curve in order to safely construct the platform, which officially opened in March 1998. Named after the Portuguese explorer, persistent traffic problems inspired the creation of the Vasco da Gama over the Tagus River, and it was finished in time to ease transportation at the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition.
Juscelino Kubitschek bridge – Named after the former Brazilian president, this 3,900-foot-long landmark stretches across Lake Paranoa. The 200-foot silver arches that jump across the roadway were designed by Alexandre Chan to emphasize Brasília’s sunsets. Sometimes referred to as the JK Bridge, this masterpiece has received several awards for architectural design since it opened in 2002, including the 2003 Gustav Lindenthal Medal at the International Bridge Conference.
Seri Wawasan bridge – Taking visitors across the Putrajaya Lake, the Seri Wawasan Bridge design mimics a sail ship and features both a pedestrian walkway and six lanes for cars. The 800-foot long, cable-stayed bridge, which first opened in 2003, connects Precinct 2 on the Core Island with Precinct 8.
Nelson Mandela bridge – Connecting Newtown and Braamfontein, the Nelson Mandela Bridge opened in 2003. Now known as the biggest cable-stayed bridge in the area, it took incredible skill to construct the platform without interrupting 42 railroad lines in the area. The bridge has car, pedestrian, and bike lines and was created in the hopes of reinvigorating and providing easy access between the two major business areas.
Festina lente, Sarajevo – Name meaning “hurry slowly” is a new bridge over the river Miljacka in Sarajevo that was built in 2012. The bridge connects the promenade Coast Mak Dizdar in front of the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo and Radic street.
Stari Most, Mostar – is a reconstruction of a 16th-century Ottoman bridge in the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina that crosses the river Neretva and connects two parts of the city. The Old Bridge stood for 427 years, until it was destroyed on 9 November 1993 by Croat forces during the Croat–Bosniak War. Subsequently, a project was set in motion to reconstruct it, and the rebuilt bridge opened on 23 July 2004. One of the country’s most recognizable landmarks, it is also considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans and was designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student and apprentice of the famous architect Mimar Sinan.
So that were couple of the most beautiful bridges around the world. If you know one that should be on this list, write it in comments.