Whenever we quarrel with a friend or a family member, we get to hear suggestions like ‘Abridge your differences, do not let them grow’. In this way, the word ‘bridge’ has crept into our day-to-day language as well. Be it in the literary sense or in technical terms, bridges act as a connector or a link. They are the specimens of architectural brilliance. Depending on the topography, climate, population and culture, bridges around the world manage to get a distinct look and structure. Some of them are popularly known as hanging bridges while others have humongous pillars supporting them, almost reminding visitors of the Greek myth of Aeneas carrying his father on his able shoulders from the burning Troy. Some of these bridges have taken years to be built into their current form as masterpieces. Years of perfect planning and tons of labour has been put in to constructing each of them.Are bridges only meant for transportation or are they much more than being a mere track beneath the truck? The truth is that they play a big part in attracting onlookers with their unique features and some of the world famous bridges are often considered a major tourist attraction. If you flip through your holiday photographs, you are bound to come across a picture with a famous bridge in the background. Well, the word ‘famous’ is always subjective. Hence, bridges have an aesthetic value attached to them, which perhaps gives them an edge over any other road. As they say, ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’. What may appear beautiful to me, may not be that beautiful for some body else. Keeping in mind that opinions always vary, I hereby present Top 10 Most Beautiful Bridges in the World.
10. Python Bridge, Sporenburg-Borneo Island, Amsterdam
Its unique structure and framework can be attributed to it being called an iconic ‘strange’ Bridge. Amsterdam is a city known for its traditional architecture and hence, the Python Bridge comes across as a landmark structure which stands out as bizarre and peculiar. As the name itself suggests, the bridge is constructed in the shape of the venomous snake, Python. It is about 300 feet long and was opened for the public in the year 2001.
9. Millau Viaduct Bridge, Midi-Pyrénées, France
It is France’s symbol of pride. Constructed in the year 2004, it is considered to be one of the world’s tallest bridges presently. The beautiful structure is the result of a joint effort by French engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster. It is around 1,125 feet above the base of the structure. Considering that it is relatively new, the bridge is expected to grow in popularity in coming years. The surrounding landscape and the countryside charm add to its exotic value.
8. Howrah Bridge, Kolkata, India
Eyebrows may be raised at the mention of this bridge in this coveted list but did you know that it is the sixth-longest cantilever bridge in the world? The beauty of Howrah Bridge lies in the fact that it was being majestically constructed even when India was not independent and was facing many odds under the British rule. It overlooks the river Hooghly and an illuminated Howrah Bridge in the evening is a treat for the eyes. The bridge has been extensively filmed in many Bollywood movies over the years. Barfi and Parineeta are two of the most recent examples of it.
7. Chengyang Bridge, Sanjiang County, China
It was built in the year 1912. The bridge is known by two other names, namely Youngji Bridge and Panlong Bridge respectively. It is one of the few covered bridges we find in the world. One of the most distinct aspects of the bridge is of it being a Chinese Pavilion, Bridge, Corridor and Veranda at the same time. It is 64.4 meters long. Another striking feature of the bridge is that it is made of stone and wood, without the use of nails and bolts as instruments of fastening the components together. Boasting of a traditional Chinese architecture, this bridge is often termed as the largest wind and rain Bridge in the world.
6. Helix Bridge, Marina Bay area, Singapore
Singapore being an important cosmopolitan hub of Southeast-Asia is expected to shelter a bridge that is sure to stun the world. That is what the Helix or the Double-Helix Bridge exactly does to the country. It is 280 meters long and was inaugurated in the year 2010. The canopy of the bridge is made with glass and perforated steel mesh. It was built with the intention of serving the purpose as a foot-over bridge across the Marina Bay. During evening and night hours, tourists prefer to capture the bridge in their cameras, as it is heavily illuminated and looks every bit an epitome of modern architecture.
5. Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
It is one of the most popular tourist spots in Sydney along with the Sydney harbour and the Opera House. It is 2.4 kilometers long and has 28 panel-arches. It has almost attained an iconic status among revelers. Designed to connect the Central Business District and the North Shore, it is the sixth longest spanning arched bridge in the world. This bridge becomes the centre of attraction for the magnificent firework display on New Year’s Eve. It has been gloriously portrayed in many movies around the world. There have been separate provisions made for pedestrians, cyclists as well as heavy-vehicles to ply the bridge without hindrance.
4. Tower Bridge, London, England
The Tower Bridge has captured the imagination of both the tourists and the English natives since its inception in the year 1894. It is a symbol of pride and beauty for the city of London and is situated over the famous river Thames. It is 61 meters long and has also been beautifully captured on the celluloid over the years. It is a one-of-a-kind suspension bridge. The bridge connects the two adjoining towers and also acts as a walkway for revelers. You may have heard the song ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’ but in reality, it remains upright and erect for almost 209 years now.
3. Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic
Remember the scene from the much-acclaimed Bollywood movie Rockstar , where the leads Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri have been filmed running on a bridge in Prague ? Yes, that was the famous and the historic Charles Bridge in Prague. Many of us may have had the good fortune to visit it while others have savoured the sight only through the medium of films. The bridge is 621 meters long and protected by three bridge towers. The architecture is Gothic in style and brims with an old-world charm. This bridge was commissioned by King Charles 4 in 1357. There are several baroque statues of religious figures along the length of the bridge.
2. Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy
It is the oldest arched-bridge in Venice, Italy, which runs over the Grand Canal. It was built in the year 1591 and has a width of 75.1 feet. While crossing over the Rialto Bridge, you can catch a glimpse of the famous Gondola boats of Italy, where the gondoliers break into melodious songs, in a bid to lighten up the mood and cheer up the visitors. The bridge came into existence with the advent of the Renaissance era in Europe. The bridge is elegant and the gondola boats passing underneath leave an indelible impression on the minds of the visitors.
1. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, United States of America
The fame and glory of this awe-inspiring architectural genius has spread to every nook and corner of the world. It is considered internationally as America’s one of the many iconic landmarks. Inaugurated in the year 1937, the bridge is 8,981 feet long and has a height of around 746 feet. Vermillion in colour, it proudly overlooks the mighty Pacific Ocean. According to several polls done by travel magazines, it is perhaps the most photographed bridge in the world.