Bridges essentially connect two dots in a way that pleases everyone, and some bridges have exceeded the expectations for this basic function. By creating unreal engineering and architectural marvels, some people have made bridges something more than just a utility. These bridges are famous for their own unique reasons, some break records while some hold historic importance and pleasing to look at.
Also see: Longest Bridges in USA
Most Famous Bridges
1. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, United States
The symbol of San Francisco, this world-famous symbol has a span of 1,280 meters (4,199 ft) at its longest making it one of the longest in the world, taking into the factor that the bridge is more than 80 years old. The American Society of Civil Engineers named it one of the seven wonders of the modern world, given its engineering strength and the iconic rustic color that has made it the most famous attraction of San Francisco. In addition, to drive along with it and photographing it from one of the high viewpoints around it, there are helicopter and boat rides available which give you a unique experience of the bridge and the gorgeous bay.
2. Tower Bridge, London, England
From the Industrial Revolution to Sherlock Holmes, this iconic suspension bridge has been a representation of London for a long time and still remains equally historic. The bridge was built from 1886 till 1894 over the River Thames and overlooking another iconic building, the Tower of London, which gave the bridge its name. The bridge, the castle and the London Eye are some of the most visited monuments in London and even in Europe, and they lie in the same neighborhood. The two famous towers are 65m tall and the bridge still opens up in the middle to allow ferries to pass.
Also see: Longest Suspension Bridges in the world
3. Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
Also known as the “Coathanger”, this bridge is the largest steel arch bridge in the world. The Sydney Harbour Bridge connects Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and the Northern shore for pedestrian and vehicles alike. A gorgeous harbor location and being the backdrop to the Sydney Opera House has made it part of the symbol of Sydney and Australia. Although it is a 90-year-old (almost) marvel in engineering, it takes 200 flight of stairs to reach the bridge and 3,770 feet long walk to cross it. The huge hinges and the strong steel arch absorb the expansion of the metal caused by the hot Australian sun adding to its structural integrity.
4. Brooklyn Bridge, New York, United States
It was completed in 1883 to link Manhattan with Brooklyn and became one of the oldest icons of New York along with the Statue of Liberty. The Brooklyn Bridge of New York is one of the oldest and longest suspension bridges in the United States with a main span of 1,595 feet (486 m). Featured in several popular movies and a permanent backdrop of the Brooklyn culture, it has been a National Historic Civil Engineering landmark since 1972 and a major icon of New York from its opening day itself. It is also a good spot to capture the Manhattan skyline with all its might and beauty.
5. Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy
The oldest bridge crossing the Grand Canal of Venice, it has been reconstructed several times since the 12th century. It is a stone pontoon crossing bridge, that has been imitated in style several times across the world with the aim to capture the essential Venetian look, especially in Las Vegas. Being such a widely known icon of Venice, it is quite popular with the attractions and gondolas for tourists.
6. Millau Viaduct, Millau, France
Being the tallest bridge in the world, the Millau Viaduct Bridge is clearly an architectural marvel both visually and structurally with a height of 343 meters (1,125 ft). The cable-stayed bridge spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France and has a four-lane road supported by seven white piers of varying heights and white cables. The tallest pier has a height of 244.96 m (803 ft 8 in) making it taller than the Eiffel Tower. During construction, one and a half mile of the bridge was built on either side of the valley and were brought together with remarkable precision in a risky and first-of-its-kind project.
7. Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
In the city laden with history and architecture lies the medieval “old bridge” which is a stone arch bridge, known for the shops built all along the bridge just like the older times. Originally built during the Roman times, it was rebuilt in the 14th century with several reconstructions later in time. The market was originally intended for butchers, replaced by gold merchants and now in the modern day, it is a souvenir market and other artwork. It is the only bridge in Florence that survived the world wars and till 2005 it had a number of “love locks” locked on it which were later removed.
8. Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic
For 500 years this historic bridge was the only crossing the river Vltava and an important connection between the Old Town and the Prague Castle. It was built under the orders of Charles IV as a stone Gothic bridge with construction ending at the beginning of the 15th century. Today, the bridge is lined up with 30 statues and populated by artists, merchants and kiosks around it making it a lively and one of the most visited sights in Prague.
9. Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, Japan
The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge is the longest suspension bridge of the world connecting mainland city of Kobe to Iwaya on Awaji Island. The main span has a length of 1,991 meters (6,532 ft) and it is 282m in height making it the 4th tallest bridge in the world. The gigantic steel cables used in the suspension would encircle the world nearly seven times if laid out straight. Such a mammothlike project was a result of the previous dangerous and hazardous waterways being destroyed in the Akashi Straits, and the government subsequently decided to build a strong and sturdy route to cross the straits.
10. Great Belt Bridge, Denmark
The Great Belt suspension bridge, also known as the East Bridge, has the third longest main span in the world at 1.6km and the longest one outside of Asia. With 19 piers in the water, the bridge holds a 6.7km route to cross the Great Belt in under ten minutes, which took an hour by ferry before the bridge. It joins the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen and is part of a broader system called the Great Belt Fixed Link that consists of the road suspension bridge, a railway tunnel and a box grinder bridge for rail and road traffic. This gigantic link is still the largest construction project in Denmark’s history but has reportedly no harmful effect on the surrounding environment.
11. Stari Most, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Originally built in 1567 and, rebuilt and restored by UNESCO in the 1990s, the Stari Most is a masterpiece in Balkan Islamic architecture. The bridge connects the city of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina crossing the river Neretva. The Old Bridge area represents a unified culture sentiment and stands as an example of co-operation and peaceful coexistence among groups of various cultures and religions who live around the bridge.
12. Chengyang Bridge, Guangxi, China
The Chengyang bridge also called the Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge is situated in Sanjiang county of Guangxi, China. This bridge crossing the Linxi river does not break any records in it’s built or engineering but the stunning architecture and traditional design have attracted poets and tourists alike to see it in real-life. The roof covering the ‘wind and rain’ bridge shelters the visitors from sun and rain, and one can also enjoy the serene beauty surrounding the bridge on the benches. The Dong people constructed this bridge around 100 years ago without any nails or rivets, which adds to its aesthetic and architectural beauty.
While the West has pioneered in creating gigantic engineering marvels that break records, it the East and some parts of Europe that capture the aesthetic and cultural essence of an architectural building. But both of them capture the beauty in their own way.