One of the finest forms of architecture is the bridge, as far back as man trod the earth he has been finding ways to ford obstacles of some form or other. From a simple tree trunk over a stream, to a way of connecting continents, the bridge and mankind have always had a symbiotic relationship. Some bridges are for trains others to simply walk across by foot, the design of bridges has encapsulated every means of getting from one place to another. As design and construction techniques have advanced so has the bridge, and in this blog, we hope to span the gap between the ordinary footbridge to the most spectacular constructions known to man.
Tower Bridge – London
Steeped in history, Tower Bridge in London is instantly recognizable as one of the most iconic suspension bridges in the world. In fact, it is so famous that an American billionaire thought he had purchased it, but it ended up that he had actually purchased London Bridge was far inferior. Until it was dismantled and sent stone by stone to the U.S. did his mistake materialize. The bridge was completed in 1894 and opened by the Prince of Wales, it combines bascule and suspension to form the bridge which fords the river Thames. Situated really close to the great Tower of London it seemed logical that it should be named after it.
Pont du Gard Aqueduct – Gard
Aqueducts conjure up images of a time gone past and remarkable achievements in architecture and building techniques. The Romans were the first people to erect aqueducts and this bridge was built around 19 BC to 150 AD. The aqueduct crosses the river Gardon in the south of France and is supposedly the highest Roman bridge in the world. UNESCO listed the Pont du Gard as a World Heritage Site for its immense historical importance and it is an extremely popular tourist attraction today.
Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco
Possibly the most famous bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge has been featured in so many movies it is virtually a Hollywood star. It is a symbol of the great city of San Francisco and has been named as one of the Modern Wonders of the World, by the Society of Civil Engineers in America. Completed in 1937 the Golden Gate has one of the largest spans as a suspension bridge in the world, at four thousand and two hundred feet. It spans San Francisco Bay and sort of encapsulates the freedom the city represented in the 1960’s, leading out to the wilderness of the Marin headland. The most notable feature is its colour, the Orange paint seems to reflect the sun, and in some lights, it almost looks as though the bridge is glowing.
These three iconic bridges all come from very different times in history, but they all command respect and interest from a wide cross section of humanity. We continue this blog on the world’s greatest bridges in part two, and travel to Australia, Italy and Hong Kong to once again cross to pastures new on the other side.