Humankind has come a long way in building bridges in the last few centuries. The first bridges were just made from stones, wood planks and ropes. Over time, stronger stuff was needed, and iron and steel bridges became the norm.
Whatever they are made of, many bridges of the world are quite beautiful and elegant. Here are five of our favorites.
1. Ponte Vecchio Bridge – Florence, Italy
The Ponte Vecchio is a 14th century bridge that spans the Arno River in Florence. These days, the bridge is much more than just a bridge. It also is a marketplace and a major landmarks of this historic Italian city. This version of the bridge dates all the way back to 1345. Over the centuries, many updates and additions have occurred, so the modern bridge has a rather irregular appearance. Hitler ordered that the Ponte Vecchio be spared from destruction during World War II.
2. Brooklyn Bridge – New York City
This New York City Landmark was first built in the late 19th century. At the time it was first designed, it was going to be the longest suspension bridge on earth.
These days, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the major bridges over the East River. It is one of the busiest bridges in the world. However, it took the engineer in the late 1800s 14 years to convince city officials to construct it.
3. Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco
The Golden Gate Bridge is the very essence of San Francisco today. It is hard for us to conceive of it not existing. But in fact, it is less than 100 years old. The idea to build a bridge to go across the Golden Gate, the narrow strait that separated the peninsula of San Francisco and the Main Headlands, was thought up in about 1915. It took about two decades for the engineer to convince the city to let him build it.
4. Tower Bridge – London
It is hard for us to imagine a 19th century traffic jam, isn’t it? However, that is just why the Tower Bridge was constructed. By the late 1800s, development in east London was so heavy that the London Bridge could no longer handle the traffic. So, this bridge was started in 1886. The idea was to build a drawbridge with two towers on piers. This would prevent the bridge from causing any problems with shipping traffic.
Tower Bridge received bad reviews when it first opened in 1894; people though it was ugly and pretentious. Today, it is one of London’s landmarks.
5. Pont du Gard Bridge – France
Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gard River in the south of France. It is a stunning masterpiece of the Roman period. It actually was not designed to carry people at all; it was part of the aqueduct system to carry water about 30 miles to the Roman city Nemausus. The Pont du Gard was constructed by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who died in 12 BC. Some of the stones of the bridge weigh six tons! They were cut so that they fit together perfectly, without any mortar.