Bridges are more than just a way to connect 2 points. They are an opportunity for architects and engineers to collaborate on a beautiful structure that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The following 10 bridges are stunning works of art that have become landmarks in their own right, and millions of tourists flock to see them every year.
1. Tower Bridge, London, England
One of London’s most recognizable landmarks, Tower Bridge is the star of millions of postcards, t-shirts, bags, and other assorted memorabilia, and no visit to London is complete without a photo on the bridge looking out over the river Thames. Londoners took a while to warm up to the bridge after it was first built, but now it has become a symbol of pride and a reminder of London’s rich Victorian history.
2. Chengyang Bridge, Sanjiang County, China
The ‘wind and rain’ bridges are feats of architectural brilliance, and all are built without a single nail or bolt to hold them together. Built by the Dong people of China, these covered bridges are beautiful examples of Chinese architecture and are constructed using only stone and wood.
3. Pont du Gard, Gard River, France
The Pont du Gard Bridge began life as an aqueduct system that transported water to the Roman city of Nemausus and is a testament to the incredible building skills of the Romans. Built more than 2000 years ago, the Pont du Gard descends only 56 feet over 30 miles and was able to deliver around 5 million gallons of water to the city every day.
4. Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy
The Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy has a unique arched shape and runs over the legendary Grand Canal. Singing gondoliers steer tourists gently beneath the bridge in the city’s famous gondola boats, and the elegant arches and white stones of the bridge make it an attractive addition to one of the most romantic cities on earth.
5. Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
This medieval bridge spans the Arno River and is one of the most stunning landmarks in Florence. The bridge is full of small shops selling jewellery, leather goods and other luxury items to tourists, and the haphazard way that the shops are stacked on top of each another only adds to the charm and appeal of this unusual marketplace.
6. Brooklyn Bridge, New York
The iconic Brooklyn Bridge has an interesting history behind its construction, and its original designer John Roebling spent almost 15 years convincing the city council to let him realise his dream of building the world’s longest suspension bridge. Unfortunately, Roebling died before construction could begin so his son Washington Roebling took responsibility until he too became ill, and the bridge was eventually completed by Washington’s wife Emily.
7. Helix Bridge, Marina Bay area, Singapore
This ultra-modern bridge constructed from glass and steel mesh continues to impress tourists from all over the world and complements the hi-tech city of Singapore perfectly. At night, the bridge is illuminated by electric blue lights which give it an ethereal quality, and literally hundreds of photos are taken of it each and every day.
8. Millau Viaduct Bridge, Midi-Pyrénées, FrancePhoto: cole.simon
Built in 2004, this elegant structure has already become a symbol of great pride to the French population, and came about after a collaboration between a French engineer and an English architect. At 1125 feet, it is considered to be the world’s tallest bridge and runs through some of the most beautiful areas of the French countryside.
9. Khaju Bridge,Isfahan, Iran
This beautiful example of Arabian architecture was built in the 17th century by Shah Abbas II, and is still a fully functioning dam that carries water to the gardens along the Zayandeh River. The centre of the bridge features 2 large pavilions that were originally reserved for the Shah but are now open to the public.
10. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
Construction of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge took more than four years and $27 million, and the bridge has become one of the most recognisable landmarks of San Francisco. Spanning the Pacific Ocean since the year 1937, the bridge’s red hue has helped it to become one of the most photographed bridges in the world.
This list is only a small example of a few of the most beautiful bridges in the world, and there are literally hundreds more that can be found in just about every corner of the planet. Humans have built them to cross seas, lakes, rivers, and canyons, and many perform extra duties, such as carrying water and providing shelter. What other beautiful bridges must be added to this list?