Top 20 Most Awesome Bridges in the World
Most bridges are just bland utilitarian edifices, but many of them are at the same time awe-inspiring feats of engineering and some are even quite aesthetically appealing. So we’ve looked around the world for the most impressive structures of this kind and put together the following list:
20. Bosphorus Bridge
The oldest and biggest of the two structures spanning the Bosphorus Strait, in the Turkish city of Istanbul (which earned it the moniker of First Bridge), the structure took three years to build, opening in late 1973. It has the distinction of being one of the few bridges in the world which actually links to continents, namely Europe and Asia.
19. Chengyang Bridge
The Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge is not so much a grandiose feat of engineering, but an eye-catching structure that showcases that distinctive kind of Chinese understated elegance. The bridge has a couple of platform, as well as a series of pavilions and verandas, and serves as the connection between two villages.
18. Khaju Bridge
Built by a 17thy century Persian king in the province of Isfahan (present day Iran), Khaju Bridge serves as both a crossing over the Zayandeh River and as a sort of dam. It’s also considered a prominent example of the Persian architecture of its time, as it was decorated with artistic tilework and paintings, and also served as a teahouse and public meeting place.
17. The Helix Bridge
This stunning stainless steel pedestrian bridge was designed to mimic the double helix shape of human DNA. Located in the Marina Bay Area, it crosses over Singapore River and is part of an impressive new development which includes, among others, the amazing Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
16. Langkawi Sky Bridge
Located on a small island in Malaysia’s Langkawi Archipelago, this intriguing structure soars over the jungle providing unique views of the surroundings. At 410 feet in length, it is one of the world’s longest curved suspension bridges.
15. Millau Viaduct
The Millau Viaduct is an incredible piece of engineering. With one of its mast’s summit rising 1,125 feet above its base, it is the world’s tallest bridge. Its amazing scale and beauty has earned it great praise, as well as the 2006 International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Outstanding Structure Award.
14. Øresund Bridge
The Øresund Bridge crosses the eponymous strait, linking Sweden and Denmark. The longest road and rail bridge in Europe, its first five miles run from the Swedish coast to the artificial island of Peberholm, while from there the link turns into a tunnel, running an additional 2.5 miles to the Danish island of Amager.
13. Brooklyn Bridge
Built over 130 years ago, the Brooklyn Bridge has become one of New York’s most recognizable icons. Significantly larger than any other suspension bridge of its day, it was a technological marvel at the time of its opening and has since been designated a National Historic Landmark, as well as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
12. Stari Most
Completed in the second half of the 16thy century, Stari Most (a name which literally means Old Bridge) was commissioned by the Ottoman Sultan himself and was considered such an outlandish task that the man charged with building it (under the penalty of death) didn’t think it would stand. Located in the city of Mostar, in present day Bosnia and Herzegovina, the original bridge was destroyed during the war in the 1990 and has since been restored with international aid, using local materials and Ottoman building techniques.
11. Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Spanning the River Tyne between the cities of Gateshead and Newcastle, in northeastern England, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge is one of the world’s most remarkable examples of a tilt bridge. Thanks to its curved shape, it can rotate around its endpoints, allowing boat traffic when necessary, while the rest of the time serving as a crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.
10. Ponte Vecchio
More than just a river crossing, Florence’s Ponte Vecchio (which is Italian for Old Bridge) features a multitude of shops along its sides. Initially occupied by butchers, these shops now accommodate more tourist-oriented artisans such as jewelers and art dealers.
9. Hangzhou Bay Bridge
With a length of around 22 miles, the Hangzhou Bay Bridge, on the Chinese east coast, is one of the longest bridges in the world. The design of the bridge alone took nearly a decade and the scale of the project was only way of the daunting challenges faced by its builders, as the area has one of the world’s biggest tides and is constantly battered by typhoons.
8. Rialto Bridge
A city built around waterways boasting such marvelous architecture is certain to have a few remarkable bridges and none is more famous than the Rialto Bridge. The oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal, this elegant stone arch structure is one of the landmarks which make Venice such a breathtakingly beautiful place.
7. Akashi Kaikiō
Linking the city of Kobe to the island of Awaji, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge’s scale is amazing. With three spans totaling a remarkable 12,831 feet in length, it has the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world, at 6,532 feet. To make it even more impressive, it was built to withstand severe earthquakes and typhoons as well.
6. Tower Bridge
Just like the Tower of London, from which it borrowed its name (and even a bit of its look), London’s Tower Bridge is one of the British capital’s most prominent landmarks. Its twin towers make it really stand out, giving the structure an air of imperial grandeur, just like the city it calls home.
5. Sidu River Bridge
Opened to traffic in November 2009, the Sidu River Bridge superseded the Beipanjiang River 2003 Bridge to become the highest bridge in the world. Soaring over a 1,600-foot deep valley, this 4,000-foot long structure is an amazing technical feat, another in a long line of impressive accomplishments by Chinese engineers.
4. Pont du Gard
By far the oldest structure on our list, Pont du Gard is a testament of the skill of the ancient Roman engineers. This aqueduct crosses the Gardon River, in the south of France, and used to supply the town of Nemausus (current day Nîmes) with an estimated 50 million gallons of water a day.
3. Rio-Antirrio Bridge
The ancient home of the Spartans, the Peloponnese Peninsula, could only be reached by ferry or through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth – until August 2004, when the impressive Rio-Antirrio Bridge was opened. At 9,450 feet in length, it is the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge and was designed to withstand heavy seismic activity and even account for the expansion of the Gulf of Corinth, which grows at a rate of about one inch per year.
2. Magdeburg Water Bridge
Bridges are usually used by pedestrians and vehicles to cross otherwise impassable ravines or stretches of water. But the Magdeburg Water Bridge is special, as it a large aqueduct which can be used by ships to actually go over the river Elbe, connecting the Mittelland Canal to the Elbe-Havel Canal, thus linking the western parts of Germany to the eastern areas.
1. Golden Gate Bridge
Completed in 1937 (ahead of schedule and under budget, which is an amazing feat in and of itself!), the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world for nearly three decades. It is now one of the most iconic landmarks of San Francisco (and indeed the US as well) and one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.