Bridges are magnificent! They’re a sight with a cause, working like roads while being dressed like monuments. It takes input from the best of the commerce, arts and science world into building a spectacular and iconic bridge. While many bridges have broken and burned over the course of history, there are some that stay tough and sturdy, serving their purpose while attracting people from around the world just to see them.
These bridges are the world’s most famous and well-known ones, having been featured in many films & television shows and documented in music and literary works. Many of these bridges have withstood wars and storms and still stand unmoved.
Here are the Top 15 World’s Most Famous Bridges.
15. Alcántara Bridge
The asAlcántara Bridge is one of Spain’s most prolific bridges. It is a Roman Stone arc bridge which pools over the Tagus River at Alcántara and is one of the oldest standing bridges in the country. It was built around 104 – 106 AD and runs 182 meters in length. The bridge is one of the most toured sites in the region due to its rich history, having been important to the Roman Empire and withstanding several wars.
14. Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge is easily the Czech Republic’s most famous site. Built during the mid 14th Century and completed in early 15th Century, this stone arch bridge was the reason why Prague became an important point of trade in Europe. The Charles Bridge connects the Old Town of Prague to the Prague Castle and runs approximately 516 meters in length. It has become the main tourist site of the city with millions of tourists visiting and crossing the bridge every year.
13. Gateshead Millennium Bridge
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a 126 meter long tilt bridge spanning over the Tyne River. It is a pedestrian and cyclist only bridge and is not used by any type of vehicles. The design of the bridge was highly acclaimed at the time of its opening and is considered as one of England’s finest bridges and most modern structures. The Gateshead Millennium Bridge has 6 hydraulic rams which rotate (read: tilt) the bridge to 40 degrees, allowing boats and ships to pass beneath it. It takes approximately 5 minutes for the bridge to tilt and go back to its original position.
12. Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge of Italy is a single arch pedestrian bridge spanning over the Grand Canal in Venice. Considered as one of the most iconic bridges in the world, it is popular for its depiction as a romantic site in several films. It was first built as a pontoon bridge and has been rebuilt several times since. Connecting the districts of San Marco and San Polo, it runs only 48 meters long and is made of stone. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Venice and Italy in general.
11. Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio is a 98 meter long stone closed spandrel segmental arch bridge that spans over the Arno River in Florence, Italy. It was built during the Roman times and is prominently remembered for the shops that hang along the two edges of the bridge. The shops are usually housed by jewelers, florists, art dealers and souvenir sellers. The bridge has three arches and is one of the oldest bridges in Italy.
10. Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs is the shortest bridge on this list and one of the shortest in the world. Located in Venice, it is a white limestone bridge that runs 11 meters in length. It connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in Doge’s Palace. Along with the Rialto Bridge, The Bridge of Sighs is considered as one of the most beautiful sights in Venice. The bridge’s name was given due to the fact that prisoners would get the last view of Venice through this bridge and they’d often sigh as a result. The bridge was named by world renowned poet Lord Byron.
9. London Millennium Footbridge
The Millennium Bridge was opened in 2000 to celebrate the new millennium in London. It is a steel suspension bridge that spans over the Thames River and runs 325 meters in length. A pedestrian bridge, it was nicknamed the “wobbly bridge” by Londoners because of its shakiness. It was closed after two days and reopened 2 years later, fixing the issue. The bridge became even more prominent after being featured in the Harry Potter and Guardians of the Galaxy film franchises.
8. Helix Bridge
The Helix Bridge is a stainless steel pedestrian bridge in Singapore which spans over the Marina Bay, connecting the Marina South and Marina Center. The bridge runs 280 meters in length and is considered Singapore’s most prolific bridge. The Helix Bridge was designed after the structure of a DNA strand and has been called one of the world’s most beautiful and well designed pedestrian bridges.
7. Stari Most
The Stari Most is a 29 meter long pedestrian bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It spams the River Neretva and connects two parts of the city of Mostar. It is a rebuilt Ottoman bridge; the old bridge that stood for almost half a millennium was destroyed in the War of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The rebuilt bridge was opened in 2004 and has hence become the country’s most recognized symbol.
6. Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge of New York is one of the most recognizable sites of New York City. It is a 1.8 kilometer long combined cable stayed/suspension bridge that has been open for over 130 years. This makes The Brooklyn Bridge the oldest roadway bridges in the United States. The bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn while spanning over the East River. It has become a symbol of recognition for New York City, especially the borough of Brooklyn.
5. Millau Viaduct
The Millau Viaduct is a 2.4 kilometer long bridge in France. It is a cable stayed bridge which towers over the gorge valley of River Tarn. The Millau Viaduct is the world’s tallest bridge, standing 343 meters tall from the base. It holds one of the most acclaimed bridge designs in the world for its revolutionary height and structure. It is France’s best known bridge and has become an icon of modern France.
4. Akashi Kaikyō Bridge
The Akashi Kaikyō is a 3.9 kilometer long suspension bridge in Japan. It is Asia’s most well known and prolific bridge and holds the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world. The bridge connects the city of Kobe to Awaji Island and spans over the Inland Sea. The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge was built after countrywide outrage over two ferry ships drowning in the rough Inland Sea, killing hundreds. It is Japan’s most recognized bridge along with the other Inland Sea bridges and is considered to be Asia’s most iconic bridge.
3. Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge of London is arguably Europe’s most famous bridge. It is a combined bascule and suspension bridge which runs 800 meters in length and spans over River Thames. It was built during late 19th Century and has been open for over 120 years. The bridge has been featured in countless films, T.V series as well as in a nursery rhyme. The Tower Bridge along with the Big Ben is an iconic image for the whole of Britain.
2. Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is Australia’s most recognizable structure along with the Sydney Opera House. It is one of the world’s most identifiable bridges and Sydney’s most iconic site. A steel through arch bridge, it runs approximately 1.1 kilometers in length and connects the Sydney Central Business District to the North Shore. The design of the bridge was inspired by the Hell Gate Bridge of New York and has been nicknamed “The Coathanger Bridge” due to its shape.
1. Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco is arguably the most famous and well recognized bridge in the world. Having been featured in countless films, television shows, paintings and even literary works, this magnificent red hued bridge is one of the most beautiful structures. The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bride which runs approximately 2.7 kilometers in length and spans the Golden Gate Strait. It was the tallest and the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its opening in 1937 but only remains the tallest bridge in the USA presently. It is the country’s most prominent bridge and has become one of America’s most iconic structures.
From steel to stone, suspension to cable held, these 15 bridges have withstood the test of time and have gained popularity and recognition around the whole world.