A bridge is a man-made structure thrown over a river, ravine, lake, or other physical obstacle. A bridge across the road is called an overpass, a bridge across a ravine or gorge is called a viaduct. The bridge is one of the oldest engineering inventions of mankind.
The original purpose of the bridge is extremely simple - to allow a person to get from one point to another above the water. Some modern designs are striking in technical perfection, and some old ones - with their own mysterious aura of age-old history.
Viaduct Millau in France. This cable-stayed bridge, which connects Southern France with the Tarn Valley, is the tallest in the world. The highest point is located at 343 meters, which is 38 meters lower than the Empire State Building observation deck. The bridge was opened ahead of schedule in 2004, and it was built in just three years. The roadbed has a small radius of curvature, which gives those traveling across the bridge the illusion of infinity. The three-meter high fences are made of almost transparent material, which gives the viewer the opportunity to fully admire the magnificent landscapes of the Tarn Valley.
Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy. This bridge is the oldest of the four that crossed the Grand Canal, it is not surprising that this structure is photographed more than its brothers. Initially, the passage through the canal was carried out on a pontoon floor, but over time, the Rialto market appeared nearby, which significantly increased the load. In 1255, the first bridge was built across the canal, still wooden, which served a little over half a century, being burned down in 1310. The bridge was rebuilt and now served for more than two centuries, until one day it collapsed under the weight of the crowd staring at the boat parade. In 1591, the bridge was already opened in stone, almost completely repeating the outlines of its wooden predecessor. There are more than twenty shops in the arches of the bridge, naturally, this place is one of the most expensive for buying souvenirs in Venice.
Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. The foundation stone of the bridge, which connects Star place and Mala Strana, was laid in 1357 by Emperor Charles IV. Its construction dragged on for almost half a century, today it is practically the only medieval bridge of its kind in the world. Its railings are decorated with thirty statues, of which St. John of Nepomutsky stands out. Tradition says that anyone who touches the figure will be lucky - no wonder that the statue is literally polished. Connoisseurs recommend touching the cross, which is built into the railing. Allegedly, it was from this place that Jan Nepomutsky was thrown into the Vltava. The bridge is a favorite place for lovers, and it is best to come here at sunset, admiring the shadows of the Old Town towers.
Tower Bridge of London, England. The name of the bridge was given by the Tower of London, located nearby. The Tower Bridge is a combination of suspension and drawbridge, which are also located at different heights. This bridge is often referred to as the London Bridge by tourists, although the real London Bridge is located upstream. The Tower Bridge began construction in 1886, and was erected in just 8 years, opened by Prince Edward of Wales with his wife, Princess Alexandra. Pedestrian galleries were created on the bridge, which, by design, made it possible for pedestrians to cross the Thames, regardless of whether the bridge was raised or not. However, almost immediately after the opening, this place became a haven for prostitutes and pickpockets. The authorities could not overcome this phenomenon, 25 years after the opening, they simply closed the galleries. In 1982, the galleries were reopened, but in a different capacity - an observation deck and a museum.
Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary. This bridge is a symbol of the city, the townspeople themselves love it very much, calling it "Old Lady". And this is not surprising, because the structure was opened back in 1849. By the end of World War II, the bridge was blown up by the Germans, but on the day of its 100th anniversary, in 1949, the Chain Bridge reopened. It is curious that under the fortress hill, directly opposite the bridge, a tunnel of similar length was made by the architect who was building the bridge. Since then, the Hungarians have joked that the tunnel is needed so that their favorite bridge could hide there during the rains. According to another legend, if between two stone lions that sit at the entrance to the bridge, a man who has not betrayed his wife passes, even in his thoughts, then the predators will certainly growl. However, from the very moment of construction, the stone statues are for some reason silent.
Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. The bridge is one of the main attractions of Florence, built in the style of the Venetian Rialto. Even the history of these bridges is similar. Ponte Vecchio was built by the ancient Romans, but collapsed in 1117, being rebuilt, badly damaged by the flood of 1333. There are shops in the arches of the bridge, initially they were owned by butchers, but recently these places have been chosen by merchants of jewelry and souvenirs. They say that this is where the term "bankruptcy" came from. When the merchant working on the bridge could not pay his debts, soldiers came to him and broke his table. This action was called bancorotto, which literally means "broken counter".
New bridge in Paris, France. Once this name of the bridge distinguished it from its older brothers. Gradually, the concept of New Bridge remained in the everyday life of the townspeople, becoming a household name. Although today such a name for a structure built at the very beginning of the 17th century sounds strange. For a long time, the bridge remained the widest in Paris, in addition, it was here that sidewalks first appeared, on which pedestrians could shelter from the spray and mud that flew from carts. On its 400th anniversary, the bridge has recently been completely restored.
Old bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This beautiful bridge connects the two parts of Mostar. During the war in Yugoslavia in 1993, the building was badly damaged. However, the bridge had UNESCO World Heritage status, which is why it was quickly rebuilt, becoming a symbol of reconciliation. The old bridge was built during the occupation of Mostar by the Turks in 1557 by the local ruler Suleiman the Magnificent; construction lasted only 9 years.
Chapelbrücke in Lucerne, Switzerland. This chapel bridge was opened in 1365 and is still the oldest wooden structure in Europe. Initially, the bridge was supposed to act as a defensive structure, it connected two city parts - the old and the new. On the pediment of the Kapellbrücke indoor gallery, there are 111 triangular-shaped paintings that tell about important events in the life of the state. In 1993, a fire broke out that severely damaged the bridge, 78 images were destroyed. However, in a year the bridge was completely restored and reopened, and the drawings were also restored thanks to the inventories.
Cernavoda Fetesti in Romania. This bridge, spanning the Danube, was opened in 1895, at that time it was the longest in Europe. It towered 30 meters above the water, and its length was 4037 meters. Such dimensions allowed even large ships to pass under the bridge. Today the bridge serves exclusively as a tourist attraction, while a new one, built in 1987, fulfills its transport goals.
Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy. Near the Rio di Palazzo is the Bridge of Sighs, which was built at the very beginning of the 17th century. The structure connected the interrogation room at the Doge's Palace to the prison. This romantic name was given to the bridge by Lord Byron, who meant that the sighs were emitted by prisoners who saw their hometown for the last time before being imprisoned. Over time, the legend has changed a lot - according to the modern version, lovers sailing under the bridge at sunset should kiss. In this case, their love will be eternal.
Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This cable-stayed bridge is called the "swan" by the locals. It was built quite recently, in 1996. The bridge connects the northern and southern parts of the city. Its length in comparison with many other brethren is small - only 808 meters. However, the unusual appearance of the bridge has served to the fact that many of them symbolize it with Rotterdam.