Bridges are described as a structure built to span and provide passage over physical obstacles such as a road, valley or body of water. Of course, the final design of the bridge varies in accordance with its function and the nature of the surrounding terrain, with some of the earliest bridges comprising stones or simple logs in a river. However, today, not only do some bridges serve their purpose, but they also comprise authentic works of art or structures of physical beauty which transform their surroundings or successfully blend in with nature. Here are some examples of the world’s most beautiful and unique bridges.
Rakotz Bridge – Germany
This impressive bridge, located in the 200-acre gothic style Kromlauer Park in Kromlau, was built around 1860. It is called the ” Rakotzbrücke” but is more popularly known as the “Devil’s Bridge” and consists of an arch bridge made entirely of Basalt stone also used to build various other features in the park. It is no longer open to the public to ensure its preservation, however, with the reflection on the water’s surface creating a flawless circle, it is certainly very beautiful.
Living Root Bridges – India
In the tiny village of Cherrapunji, one of the wettest places on earth, the bridges are not built but grown. These living bridges make use of the roots of the native Ficus elastica tree (rubber tree). They are tamed to grow in a certain direction, a trick learned by the local War-Khasis tribe a long time ago, and whilst they can “grow” over a hundred feet long they take from ten to fifteen years to become fully functional. Extraordinarily strong, in addition to the unique materials used, these living root bridges can withstand the weight of fifty or more people at a time.
Henderson Waves Bridge – Singapore
The Henderson Waves Bridge stands 36 meters above Henderson Road in Singapore and connects Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park. The stunning wave-like structure, comprising a series of undulating curved steel ribs with thousands of yellow balls wood slats, is what makes this pedestrian bridge so unique. These curved ribs form alcoves providing shelter for the public. At night, the Henderson Waves Bridge beautifully illuminated with LED lights.
The Helix Bridge – Singapore
Singapore is also home to the Helix Bridge comprising a pedestrian bridge crossing Singapore River and connecting Marina Centre with Marina South in the Marina Bay. If features a double helix structure modeled on DNA, the first of its kind in the world. These two opposing spiral steel members are accompanied by canopies consisting of fritted-glass and perforated steel mesh which are incorporated along parts of the inner spiral to provide shelter and seating for pedestrians. In addition, four strategically located viewing platforms across the bridge provide stunning views of the marina and a series of lights highlight the unique double helix structure that the bridge features.
Aiola Island Bridge Bar – Austria
As the name indicates, not only does this bridge provide passage across the Mur River in Graz, Austria, it also features a trendy bar, sunbathing area, coffee bar, open-air theater and children’s play area right in the center. Built in 2003, it was designed by New York artist Vito Acconci who created a structure with an organically curved façade featuring triangular facets of either Nirosta steel panels or flat glass panels. Thanks to this innovative bridge, Aiola Island now comprises a popular tourist attraction.
Banpo Bridge Water Fountain – South Korea
Banpo Bridge, also known as the Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, spans the Han River in Seoul connecting the Seocho and Yongsan districts. It was built as part of a project to revive and allure tourists to the area. What makes the Banpo Bridge so unique is that it was actually built on top of the existing Jamsu Bridge to form part of a double-decker bridge. Later 380 LED nozzles, shooting out 190 tons of water per minute, were added on either side. The water is pumped directly from the river 20 meters below the deck and shoots out as far as 43 meters horizontally which, thanks to the 200 lights installed on the bridge, create a wonderful rainbow effect at night.
Langkawi Sky Bridge – Malaysia
The Langkawi Sky Bridge comprises a curved pedestrian cable-stayed bridge located at the peak of Gunung Chinchang mountain on Pulau Langkawi Island, forming part of the Langkawi archipelago in Malaysia. It is accessed by the Langkawi cable car, starting at the Oriental Village located at the foot of the mountain, which climbs to the bridge hanging approximately 100 meters above ground. Once at the top some spectacular views of the rainforest and the Telaga Tujuh waterfalls can be admired with two viewing platforms provided along the bridge to do just that.
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Kintai Bridge – Japan
The Kintai Bridge comprises a wooden arch bridge located in the city of Iwakuni, Japan. It spans the Nishiki River and what makes it so unique is that comprises a series of five graceful wooden arch bridges built in 1673. It lies at the foot of Mount Yokoyama, home to Iwakuni Castle gracing the top, and is a popular tourist attraction especially during Cherry Blossom festival in autumn and spring.
Peace Bridge – Calgary
Finally, the Peace Bridge in Calgary comprises a unique pedestrian bridge that spans the Bow River in Calgary, Canada. It was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and takes the form of a helical steel structure with a glass roof. In addition, it features red and white colors to represent the flag of Canada and the flag of Calgary. The Peace Bridge cost a whopping $24.5 million provided by the government and lottery funding. However, despite the hefty price tag six thousand people reportedly use it every day and it was awarded various prizes in 2012 in recognition of its contemporary architecture and design.
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