What another great travel theme. I got a little carried away on this post. But as a Civil Engineer, what can I say? I like bridges and they make great subjects to photograph. So here is my collection of the bridges of the world. Enjoy the trip.
Photo 1: Sydney Harbor Bridge – Sydney, Australia
The second most famous structure in Australia after the Opera House, has to be the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The bridge was completed in 1932 as the world was suffering an economic depression. The arch spans 1650 feet connecting the residential areas on the north side of the harbor with downtown Sydney on the south. The deck sits 194 feet above sea level and the height of the arch is 440 feet. If you are adventurous, you can climb to the top of the bridge. I did the climb at night and it was fantastic looking out over the lights of Sydney.
Photo 2: Magere Brug – Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Magere Brug (aka skinny bridge) is a traditional double-leaf Dutch drawbridge. It is one of the most photographed sights in Amsterdam. The current bridge is a 20th century replica of the original 1670 wooden footbridge. The legend is that two elderly sisters named Mager who lived on one side on the Amstel River wanted easy access to the other side where their horse were stabled. In 1929, the city council discussed demolishing the old wooden frame which had rotted and replacing it with an electrically operated bridge. But after a huge outcry and an overwhelming vote by the citizens of Amsterdam, they opted to reconstruct the old wooden bridge.
Photo 3: Erasmus Bridge – Rotterdam, Netherlands
The Erasmus Bridge (Erasmusbrug) across the Nieuwe Maas River (New Meuse) connects the northern and southern halves of the city of Rotterdam. Completed in 1996, it is a 2,631 foot long cable-stayed bridge with a 456 foot high asymmetrical pylon, which earned it the nickname ”The Swan”. The southern span of the bridge has a 292 foot long bascule bridge for ships that cannot pass under the main section of the bridge. The bridge was officially opened by Queen Beatrix on September 6, 1996, and has already starred in several movies and other performances. In 2010, the bridge was crossed during the opening stage of the Tour de France.
Photo 4: The Blue Bridge – St. Petersburg, Russia
The Blue Bridge crosses over the Moika River and connects St. Isaac’s Square to the Mariinsky Palace (home to the city’s Legislative Assembly) which is on the opposite bank. The Siny Most (Blue Bridge) is named so because its underside is painted blue. It is the widest bridge in St. Petersburg.
Photo 5: Bridge of Sighs – Venice, Italy
Adjoining the Doge’s Palace is the former prison of Venice. Once tried and convicted in the palace, prisoners were led across the narrow bridge, called Il Ponte dei Sospiri (the Bridge of Sighs), to their cells. The windows on the bridge gave the prisoners their last glimpse of freedom, hence the name for the bridge. Today the bridge has a romantic air and is favored by young lovers who believe that if they kiss under the bridge on a gondola ride their love will last.
Photo 6: Ponte di Rialto – Venice, Italy
The Grand Canal winds its way through the heart of Venice. One of the most famous bridges which arches over the canal is the Ponte di Rialto, built between 1588-92. The single-span, balustraded bridge has two parallel rows of tightly packed shops selling jewelery, leather, masks, silk and souvenirs. There is no better place in Venice to sit and absorb the atmosphere and people watch then next to the Ponte di Rialto.
Photo 7: Old Bridge – Heidelberg, Germany
The Old Bridge over the River Neckar is actually relatively young; although it was preceded by many older bridges made of wood, the first of which was recorded at this site in 1284. But like all of the wooden bridges that followed, it eventually fell prey to high water and ice. After the last wooden bridge was destroyed in 1784, a stone bridge was constructed in 1786-88. The bridge leads to the town’s main north entrance and is protected by the medieval Bridge Gate. Countless painters have immortalized it in their works calling it the Old Bridge, whose real name is the Carl Theodor Bridge after the man who had it built. The bridge’s nine red sandstone arches span the Neckar River and blend harmoniously into their surroundings, framed by the river and mountains.
Photo 8: Ponte Pietra – Verona, Italy
The Ponte Pietra (Stone Bridge), once known as the Pons Marmoreus, is a Roman Arch Bridge which crosses the Adige River in Verona. The bridge was completed in 100 BC. The Via Postumia, an ancient Roman road of northern Italy which was constructed in 148 BC and ran from Genoa to the Brenner Pass, passed over the Ponte Pietra. The arch nearest to the right bank of the Adige was rebuilt in 1298. Four arches of the bridge were blown up by retreating German troops in World War II but rebuilt in 1957 with original materials.
Photo 9: Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) – Luzern, Switzerland
The city of Luzern straddles the Reuss River and one of the city’s famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrucke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. The 669 ft long wooden bridge was originally built in 1333, but much of it had to be replaced after a fire in 1993, allegedly caused by a discarded cigarette. Part-way across, the bridge runs by the octagonal Water Tower, a fortification from the 13th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Luzern’s history.
Photo 10: Ponte Vecchio – Florence, Italy
The Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) is a Medieval stone arch bridge over the Arno River which was built in 1345 and its workshops were used by butchers and tanners until these noxious trades were banned by ordinance in 1593. Today the shops have been taken over by jewelers, art dealers and souvenir shops. The bridge consists of three segmental arches: the main arch has a span of 98 feet and the two side arches each span 88 feet. The rise of the arches is between 11½ to 14½ feet.
Photo 11: Alexander III Bridge – Paris, France
The Pont Alexandre III is an arch bridge that spans the Seine River, connecting the Champs-Élysées quarter(the 8th arrondissement) to the Les Invalides and Eiffel Tower quarter in the 7th arrondissement. It is widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in Paris and is classified as a historical monument. The bridge has exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses at either end. It was built between 1896 and 1900 and is named after Tsar Alexander III, who had concluded the Franco- Russian Alliance in 1892. His son Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in October 1896.
Photo 12: Ross Bridge – Ross, Tasmania
The convict-built Ross Bridge is one of the oldest, most beautiful and often photographed bridges in Australia. The town of Ross is located 120 km north of Hobart, Tasmania. The bridge was designed by John Archer (how appropriate) who gave it a graceful arch design. It was built by two convict stonemasons, Colbeck and Herbert, who were granted their freedom for their work. The bridge has unique and intricate decorative carvings on 186 panels that decorate the arches. Herbert is credited for the intricate panel work, each one being different and displaying Celtic symbols, animals and the faces of notable people carved into the sandstone.
Photo 13: Waibaidu Bridge – Shanghai, China
The Waibaidu Bridge crosses the Suzhou Creek and is Shanghai’s most famous old bridge. It is also called the Ironworkers’ Bridge and was recently towed away for restoration and then re-installed in 2010. This was the first bridge built by the British, and it connected the American and British districts until they both merged into the International Settlement in 1863. Of course, the beautiful young woman in a wedding dress posing in front of the bridge made the photo much more interesting.
Photo 14: Wushan Bridge – Wushan, China
The Wushan Yangtze River Bridge is an arch bridge which crosses the Yangtze River in Wushan county in Chongqing city, China. It was completed in 2005. The 430 foot high arch spans 1,510 feet which ranks it in the top ten longest bridges in the world. The bridge is also among the highest in the world, however the reservoir created by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam has increased the height of the water below the bridge, and the full 590 foot clearance is no longer visible.
Photo 15: Yaquina Bay Bridge – Newport, Oregon
Yaquina Bay is a small bay at the discharge of the Yaquina River into the Pacific Ocean. The Yaquina Bay Bridge is an arch bridge that spans the Yaquina Bay and is one of the most recognizable of the Oregon coastal bridges. The bridge opened on September 6, 1936. The 600-foot main span is a semi-through arch with the roadway penetrating the middle of the arch. It is flanked by identical 350-foot steel deck arches with five concrete deck arches of diminishing size extending to the south landing. The main arch is marked by tall obelisk-like concrete finials on the main piers with smaller decorative elements marking the ends of the flanking spans.
Photo 16: Bridge of Lions – St. Augustine, Florida
The Bridge of Lions is a bascule bridge that spans the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine. It is a part of State Road A1A that crosses Matanza Bay and connects downtown St. Augustine to Anastasia Island. Construction began in 1925 and was completed in 1927. A pair of Medici lions made of marble guard the bridge. The lions were removed in February 2005 and returned in March 2011. Roads & Bridges magazine named the Bridge of Lions fourth in the nation’s top 10 bridges for 2010. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was included by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) on its list of the “11 Most Endangered Historic Sites” in the nation for 1997. The Bridge of Lions was later featured on the cover of the Trust’s 1999 engagement calendar. From its earliest days, it was hailed as “The Most Beautiful Bridge in Dixie.” It has long been a symbol of St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city.
Photo 17: Inca Bridge – Machu Picchu, Peru
One of the walks that you can do on your visit to Machu Picchu is to hike the mountain trail to the Inca drawbridge. The trail is a stone path, part of which is cut into a cliff face and is the easiest of the hikes (it’s relatively flat) as long as you are not afraid of heights. The trail winds along the west flank of the mountain behind Machu Picchu. The trail grows narrower until it cuts into the cliff with a near vertical face. At the narrowest point, the Incas built a huge stone buttress to create a ledge for the path to cross. They left a strategic twenty-foot gap in the middle of the buttress which was bridged by logs that could be removed, leaving the trail impassable to outsiders. The path is closed off shortly before the bridge, ever since some fool tried to cross it and fell the 1,900 feet drop to his death.