22 Enchanting Historic Bridges

22 Enchanting Historic Bridges

 

 

CHARLES BRIDGE – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GOTHIC STRUCTURE IN CZECH REPUBLIC

The Charles Bridge, Prague, The Czech Republic. One of the most famous historic bridges in the world and Europe, the Charles Bridge crosses the Vltava river in the heart of the city. Commissioned by King Charles IV in the 14th century, the constructions finished in the 15th century. It is believed that king himself laid the first stone.

The Charles Bridge, which is 621 m long, is claimed to be one of the most beautiful Gothic buildings in the world. Moreover, it is famous for the 30 Baroque statues, depicting saints, that are situated on the balustrade. The bridge connects Prague Castle with the Old Town and is considered to be one of the most romantic places in the city, visited by thousands of tourists every day.

 

MOON BRIDGE, DAHU PARK, TAIPEI, TAIWAN

A moon bridge is a highly arched pedestrian bridge associated withgardens in China and Japan. The moon bridge originated in China and was later introduced to Japan.

This type of bridge was originally designed to allow pedestrians to cross canals while allowing the passage of barges beneath. When constructed using the climbing ascent and descent this had the further advantage of not using space from the adjoining fields for approaches.

In formal garden design a moon bridge is placed so that it is reflected in still water. The high arch and its reflection form a circle, symbolizing the moon.

 

WIND AND RAIN BRIDGE, CHENGYAN, CHINA

The “Wind and Rain” Bridge is protected as a valued cultural relic of Dong people of China. It is built without a single nail. It is located in Sanjiang County of Guangxi Municipality, Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in China. Built in 1916, it is the crystal of Dong people’s wisdom and the largest Wind and Rain Bridge in China. It sits among a cluster of Dong villages, providing a good base for exploring ethic culture and rural China.

It is a Unesco World Heritage site.

 

 

 KROMLAU  RAKOTZ BRIDGE, GERMANY – The Devil’s Bridge (Rakotzbrücke)

The Rhododendron Park Kromlau is one of the largest parks in Saxony with 160 acres, located in Upper Lusatia (Oberlausitz) 120km north west of Dresden. The park is particularly known for the medieval-looking Rakotzbrücke.

Kromlauer Park is a gothic style, 200-acre country park in the municipality of Kromlau in the Görlitz Gablenzgasse district in Germany. An incredible attraction of the park is theRakotzbrücke, more popularly known as Devil’s Bridge.

The impressive arch bridge was built around 1860. During its construction, other peculiar rock formations were built on the lake and in the park. Devil’s Bridge is no longer open to the public to ensure its preservation. A unique feature of the bridge is that its reflection on the water’s surface creates a flawless circle, regardless of which side is being viewed.

 

THE HUMPBACK BRIDGE IN BOBBIO AND THE DEVIL’S KICK , PONTE GOBBO, ITALY

As with many other bridges in Italy, the history of Ponte Gobbo, in Bobbio, Emilia Romagna, is wrapped in legend. As is often the case, the most popular traditional version of the story has the devil play a key role, tempting man with his promises – only to end up mocked and humiliated by someone smarter than him. The hero in the local tale is Saint Columbanus, the Irish monk and missionary who founded an abbey in Bobbio in 614.

The story goes that Satan hoped to get a human soul in exchange for building the bridge, but was tricked… and took out his fury on the bridge itself, with a kick so powerful the structure became lopsided, or “humpbacked” (hence the Italian nickname, Ponte Gobbo).

In fact, the Dark Ages’ bridge – leaping 273 meters over the Trebbia – is gibbous due to the many renovations to which it was subject over the years, especially after the 15th century.

Despite the devil’s anger, and the centuries that have passed, the Humpbacked Bridge is still where it always was, joining the two sides of this wonderful town.

 

 

 

GLENFINNAN VIADUCT, SCOTLAND

Scattered along the main road, Glenfinnan is situated at the head of Loch Shiel which stretches south west for 20 miles to Acharacle.

Glenfinnan attracts many thousands of visitors from around the world to experience the stunning scenery but also the special atmosphere. The famous Glenfinnan viaduct carries the railway to Glenfinnan Station across a 1,000 ft span, 100 ft above the ground. The Jacobite steam train runs from here to Fort William and Mallaig in summer months with regular trains available the rest of the year.

The filming of the second and third Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secret and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban took place in this area with the Hogwarts Express calling at Glenfinnan!   In August every year, on the Saturday closest to 19 August, the Glenfinnan Gathering and Games take place.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

 

RONDA, MALAGA, SPAIN

The Puente Nuevo , “New Bridge”) is the newest and largest of three bridges that span the 120-metre (390 ft)-deep chasm that carries the Guadalevin  River and divides the city of  Ronda, in southern Spain. The architect was Jose Martin de Aldehuela, who died in Malaga in 1802. The chief builder was Juan Antonio Díaz Machuca.

The bridge was started in 1751 and took 42 years to build. Fifty workers were killed during its construction. There is a chamber above the central arch that was used for a variety of purposes, including as a prison. During the 1936-1939 civil war both sides allegedly used the prison as a torture chamber for captured opponents, killing some by throwing them from the windows to the rocks at the bottom of the El Tajo gorge. The chamber is entered through a square building that was once the guard-house. It now contains an exhibition describing the bridge’s history and construction.

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THE BRIDGE OF IMMORTALS, HUANGSHAN, CHINA

The world’s highest bridge – The Bridge Of Immortals, is situated in the Yellow Mountains, also known as Huangshan in China.

Huangshan is a picturesque location in eastern China and one of the most iconic locations in the country. Even with its famous glacier carved landscape and wildly jutting granite peaks, local variety.

Considering Huangshan’s extreme beauty, it’s not surprising that the area derives much of its significance from Chinese art and literature. It has inspired poets such as Li Bai, many Chinese ink paintings, and more recently, photography. According to Wikipedia, over 20,000 poems were written about the mountains between the Tang Dynasty (618-906) and the end of the Qing Dynasty (1614 to 1911). They’ve also inspired modern works, lending to the fictional world designed for James Cameron’s 2009 film Avatar.

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GAZTELUGATXE, BASQUE COUNTRY, SPAIN

Gaztelugatxe is a little island situated in the Bay of Biscay just outside the Spanish coast in Basque Country. The island is crowned by a small hermitage called San Juan de Gaztelugatxe dedicated to John the Baptist, that dates from the 10th century, but could be as early as the 9th century. With another small neighboring island, Aketze, they form a protected biotope that extends from the town of Bakio until Cape Matxitxako, on the Bay of Biscay.

There is a small 10th century church on the top of a rocky islet, which is connected with a mainland by a bridge. Throughout the ages the hermitage has been a target of various fights. However, dramatic history as well as surroundings only add up an extra intrigue to the site.

The island is connected to the coast by a narrow path, crossing a two-arch stone bridge and the most magnificent staircase consisting of over 230 steps that lead to the hermitage.

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ROOT BRIDGE, NORTHEAST, INDIA

Villagers in Meghalaya, India have come up with a unique construction technique that harnesses nature in its purest form – they grow their own living bridges! Using the roots of the Ficus elastica tree (rubber fig tree), the residents have woven an elaborate system of living bridges, some of which are thought to be over 500 years old. These extraordinary examples of living architecture are also lessons in patience, since they take about 15 years to grow. With age though, the living root bridges grow stronger and can often support the weight of 50 or more people at a time!

 

 

LATEFOSSEN BRIDGE, LATEFOSSEN WATERFUL, NORWAY

Latefossen (Låtefossen [maybe pronounced like “LOH-teh-foss-un”]; also seen it spelled Lotefossen) was probably the most popular and dramatic of the waterfalls in Oddadalen (the Odda Valley). Although we thought almost all of the waterfalls we encountered in the waterfall-laced Oddadalen were spectacular, I guess this one got the notoriety given its dual cascade appearance each with high volume flow. We had a difficult time trying to keep our camera lens dry while attempting to take a clean all-encompassing photo of it given the nearly constant mist being thrown in our direction. And this was the case despite the fact at that we were standing besides the car park on the opposite of the bridge (said to be completed in 1859) a little downstream of the base of the falls! The photo at the top of this page was probably our best effort.

The signs here indicated that the pair of waterfalls tumbled from a height of 165m (though I’ve also seen that its maximum vertical drop was said to be 51m, which I found the conflicting numbers to be confusing). The forceful flow came from the lake Lotevatnet (Låtevatnet), which itself drained much larger lakes (such as Reisnosvatnet) in the highlands of the vast Hardanger Plateau (or Hardangervidda; said to be Europe’s largest mountain plateau). The falls was also said to be part of the protected Opo Watershed so its year-round flow and existence would be assured. By the way, this protected watershed also allowed Oddadal Valley’s numerous other waterfalls to persist as well.

 

GEORGE DE L’AREUSE, SWITZERLAND

Gorges de l’Areuse is a narrow gorge through the limestones of the Jura. This is a gorge that has been formed by the Areuse river as it cuts through rocks near La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchatel, Switzerland. Wherever the waters of the Jura tried to carve their way through the pleats of the Jura, gorges were created.

Folded by the Alpine orogeny, the limestone forms high ridges running northeast to southwest. But drainage is to the north and the south, and so rivers have to cross the ridges, which they do in gorges, locally also called cluse.

 

BASTIE BRIDGE, SAXON, GERMANY

The Bastei is a rock formation towering 194 metres above the Elbe River in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains of Germany. Reaching a height of 305 metres above sea level, the jagged rocks of the Bastei were formed by water erosion over one million years ago. They are situated near Rathen, not far from Pirna southeast of the city of Dresden and are the major landmark of the  Saxon Switzerland National Park. They are also part of a climbing and hiking area that extends over the borders into the Bohemian Switzerland (Czech Republic).

The Bastei has been a tourist attraction  for over 200 years. In 1824 wooden bridge was constructed to link several rocks for the visitors. This bridge was replaced in 1851 by the present Bastei Bridge made of sandstone. The rock formations and vistas have inspired several well-known artists, among them Caspar David Friedrich.

The very name Bastei (“bastion”) indicates the inclusion of the steep, towering rocks in the old defensive ring around Neurathen Castle. In 1592 the rock is first mentioned by Matthias Oeder in the course of the first state survey by the Electorate of Saxony as Pastey.

 

KEMER BRIDGE, RIZE, TURKEY

This bridge has influenced the history of a greater part of civilization in both Europe and Asia. At first glance, there’s nothing remarkable about this bridge. The arched stone slab straddling the River Meles, in Izmir, Turkey, extends only 42½ feet and is about as simple as they come. But it’s the age, not the physical aspects, of the Caravan that sets it apart. Built in 850 B.C., the bridge is 2,861 years old and has reportedly been crossed by the likes of Homer and Saint Paul. As impressive as some of the other bridges, it’s hard to imagine they’ll last even half that long.

 

SHAHARA BRIDGE , YEMEN

The Shahara – A village located at the top the peaks of the magnificent Jabal Shahara. Shahara was once a stronghold for the Imams. This stimulated city could sustain itself for months on end in cases of isolation. Travelers come to Shahara is to watch the well-known Bridge of Sighs. This bridge was constructed in 17th century to connect towns at the tops of mountains in the state of Yemen. Shahara Bridge built to fight against Turkish invaders. Many say that the local people can eliminate the bridge in few minutes in case of any imminent danger. It’s a scary bridge and a popular tourist attraction. The local residents still cross it often as a part of their daily routine. The manufacturing genius of this bridge spans a sheer 300 foot deep canyon. It can be reached by climbing the many stepped slopes or, selecting the path of least resistance, by accompanying a local guide with you.

 

LESHAN, SICHUAN PROVINCE, CHINA

In 1996, the Mount Emei Scenic Area, including the Leshan Giant Buddha, the largest stone-carved buddha in the world, was declared a  World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Mount Emei is located within the county-level city of Emeishan, which is under the administrative jurisdiction of Leshan.

The ancestral home of Chinese writer, academic and politicianGuo Moruo is preserved in the  Shawan District of Leshan.

 

MULLERTHAL BRIDGE, LUXEMBOURG,

The trail nows steeply climbs through the beech forest up to the valley flanks and we enter a fairytale world of towering sandstone formations and rock labyrinths. Wood mice contantly rustle through the litter at the forest floor as we pass by. We continue for half an hour, then leave the path and steeply climb through the forest out of the valley to find another nice bivouac spot in a field NE of the hamlet of Breidweiler.

 

DEVIL’S BRIDGE IN RHODOPE , BULGARIA – AN ANCIENT RIVER OVER THE ARDA RIVER, TOWN OF ARDINO

The Dyavolski Most (Devil’s Bridge), (also known as Sheytan Kyupriya) is a medieval bridge over the Arda river. It is situated in a picturesque valley about 10 kilometers northwest of the town of Ardino and 4 kilometers east of the village of Galabovo (municipality of Banite).

The bridge was built in 1515 – 1518 by the builder Dimitar from the village of Nedelino (which is a town nowadays) upon the remains of an ancient Roman bridge on the road, linking the Aegean region with Northern Thracian valley (Gornotrakiyski Nizina) through the Makaza pass.

The bridge is situated 420 meters above sea level and is surrounded on both sides by steep slopes. Its length is 56 meters, and its width is 3.5. The bridge has three vaults; it has holes with small arches in its side vaults, made for drainage. The height of the middle vault is 11.5 – 12 meters, with a stone parapet on the edge, 12 cm high.

In 1984 the bridge was declared a cultural monument. The bridge can be reached by car, passing along a rough road. Tourist infrastructure had been built near it for picnic and recreation.

 

MISARELA BRIDGE, GERES, PORTUGAL

The Peneda-Gerês National Park is located in the northern part of the country and borders with Spain. Tombs and other archeological evidence date human activities here back to 6000 years B.C. Besides historic significance, the park is also a home for various endangered species and plants, therefore tourism is controlled.

 

GAPSTOW BRIDGE, NEW YORK, USA

The beautiful, schist bridge found at 59th street in Central Park, offering one of the best views of the New York City skyline, is known as the Gapstow Bridge. Situated at the northeast end of the Pond, this bridge was initially built in 1874 and designed by Jacob Wrey Mould. Mould’s design would prove itself unable to stand against the elements, however, and his lovely but delicate wooden bridge with cast iron railings was soon replaced due to wear. 

 

 

 

FOLEY’S BRIDGE, TOLLYMORE PARK, NEWCASTLE COUNTY, NORTHERN IRELAND

This stone foot bridge spanning the Shimna river is located deep in Tollymore forest park.

Tollymore Forest Park was the first state forest park in Northern Ireland, established on 2 June 1955. It is located at Bryansford, near the town of Newcastle in the Mourne and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It covers an area of 630 hectares (1,600 acres) at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and has views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at nearby Newcastle. The Shimna River flows through the park where it is crossed by 16 bridges, the earliest dating to 1726. The river is a spawning ground for salmon and trout and is an Area of Special Scientific Interest due to its geology, flora and fauna. The forest has four walking trails signposted by different coloured arrows, the longest being the “long haul trail” at 8 miles (13 km) long. It was listed in The Sunday Times top twenty British picnic sites for 2000. The Forest Park has been managed by the Forest Service since they purchased it from the Roden Estate in 1941.

 

STONE BRIDGE ACROSS THE MERCED RIVER, YOSEMITE, USA

“The Merced River (pronounced “mer-SED”) is in California. Its headwaters are in the southern half of Yosemite National Park. The river flows into Yosemite Valley. Much of the water is stored behind the New Exchequer dam in Lake McClure, and diverted by the Merced Irrigation District at the Crocker-Huffman diversion dam. The remainder of the water flows southwest through foothills, and then across the San Joaquin Valley to join the San Joaquin River.”

“The Stoneman Bridge (1933) resembles the Clark and Happy Isles bridges, with a 72-foot (22 m) main span carrying a 27-foot (8.2 m) road and two 6-foot (1.8 m) sidewalks. The equestrian subways in the abutments were slightly enlarged in width to 8.5 feet (2.6 m) and were extended out from the surface of the wing walls for greater emphasis. It is located at the Camp Curry intersection. Cost was $71,675.08.[2] The bridge replaced a wooden bridge that had carried the former “Royal Arch Avenue” to the Stoneman Hotel, which had been demolished by the 1920s. Construction on the bridge was built by Sullivan and Sullivan of Oakland, California but was terminated when the Bureau of Public Roads lost confidence in the contractor’s ability to carry out the work. The bridge was completed by the Portland, Oregon firm of Kueckenberg & Wittman.” (wikipedia)

 

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