Architectural Marvels: Iconic Bridges Around the World

These iconic bridges offer more than a simple crossing; their presence allows visitors to enjoy architectural poetry and engineering wizardry, fostering connections to the culture and history of local communities.

From Sydney’s Coathanger Bridge to London’s Rolling Bridge, these bridges showcase the power of artistic collaboration.

1. Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (Pearl Bridge)

The world is filled with magnificent structures, and bridges are no exception. One such bridge in Japan, Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (Pearl Bridge), not only stands as an emblematic of national pride, but it is a tourist draw as well. Boasting an impressive central span of 1991 meters and two end spans each measuring 960 meters, its main span makes this structure one of the longest main suspension bridges worldwide.

The 3.9 km-long bridge connects Kobe on mainland Honshu to Iwaya on Awaji Island in west-central Japan. This was constructed to replace ferry services that were often vulnerable to stormy waters in Akashi Strait.

Though robust in construction, this bridge appears delicate due to its special lighting which transforms steel lines into luminescent chains after dark. Carrying more than 23,000 cars daily and being one of the longest bridges of its type in the world.

2. Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge

Are you up for an adventurous challenge? Recently opened in Switzerland is the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge: Charles Kuonen Hangebrucke. Gently sweeping over a deep valley, it links Zermatt and Grachen on the Europaweg hiking trail – measuring 494 meters (1621 feet). At 494 meters (1621 feet), it stands taller than even Brooklyn Bridge!

Swissrope constructed their new bridge in just 10 weeks, cutting down on the typically longer and circuitous journey between ski haven Zermatt and fairytale mountain village Grachen to an easy 10-minute hike. Indiana Jones may get sweaty palms while looking at this breathtaking structure; but with such a majestic landmark as Mount Matterhorn on hand for distraction, nervous walkers won’t worry for too long!

3. Shanghai’s Lupu Bridge

The Lupu Bridge spans Shanghai’s Huangpu River, connecting Luwan District and Pudong Districts. When first unveiled in 2003, its towering support archway stood 550 meters high – at that time, however, it held the world record as longest spanning steel arch bridge; since its launch it has since been overtaken by China’s Chaotianmen Bridge.

Lupu is unique among through arch bridges in that it does not feature pillars; instead, its vertical trusses are suspended from the bridge deck by horizontal cables to reduce the force exerted upon foundations by arch thrust. Furthermore, this was also the first fully welded slope structure for such a structure.

An observation platform on top of an arch rib offers breathtaking views of the city. Visitors take an elevator up to the main deck, and then ascend more than 300 steps up the slope for spectacular panoramas.

4. Lucerne’s Chapel Bridge (Kappelbruck)

An essential stop on any trip to Switzerland is Chapel Bridge (Kappelbrucke). Constructed in 1333 and crossing River Reuss diagonally, it stands as one of Europe’s oldest surviving wooden covered bridges and boasts intricate 17th-century paintings within its roof trusses.

This octagonal bridge also houses a museum. Unfortunately, due to a fire in 1993 that consumed most of it – including all 78 of its paintings – much of it had to be demolished.

Rebuilt in just eight months, today the bridge is one of Lucerne’s iconic landmarks. Designed by Hans Wagmann, its triangular paintings depict scenes from its history books as well as saints Leger and Maurice who patronize it. Nearby Spreuerbrucke (Mill Bridge) features plague paintings.

5. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is an iconic symbol of London and the Thames River that should not be missed on any visit to this historic city. A combined bascule and suspension bridge, its two neo-Gothic towers rise gracefully either side of its central lift span.

Tower Bridge was first constructed as a result of increased commercial activity on London’s east end, in response to increased commercial activity at that time. It has become an iconic global landmark thanks to its location and ability to rise to allow ships underneath it.

Take a stroll on the bridge’s glass walkways to witness this engineering marvel at work! Peak times tend to be very popular and overcrowded; therefore an early morning or weekday visit might be best.