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© Furiosobdn | Dreamstime.com
Most people look at bridges as a means to an end. They connect cities, states and countries, helping people commute to and from their destination. But some bridges are mesmerizing wonders that are worth looking at on their own.
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Although its beauty is enough to make the Széchenyi Chain Bridge stand out, history buffs will love it because of its storied past. Located in Budapest, Hungary, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, or simply the Chain Bridge, was inaugurated in November 1849. It was the first permanent stone bridge to connect Pest and Buda, cities in Hungary that would later merge to become Budapest. Reflecting its name, Chain Bridge has iron chain links.
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If you’ve seen photographs or paintings of the streets of Venice, chances are you’ve seen the Rialto Bridge. The heart of Venice, Italy, the Rialto Bridge was constructed more than 400 years ago. Today, the Rialto Bridge is one of the city’s most popular sights.
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Located in Iwakuni, Japan, the Kintaikyo Bridge is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Unlike many other bridges, the Kintaikyo Bridge is made of wood. Five wooden arches rest on stone pillars that cross the Nishiki River. The Kintaikyo Bridge is often captured in images with beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom over the river in the spring.
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It took three years and nearly 600 workers to construct what is known today as the Millau Viaduct Bridge. The bridge stretches more than 8,000 feet and connects the city of Clermont-Ferrand to the town of Béziers in France. The Millau is a comparatively newer work of architectural beauty: it was completed in December 2004.
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The Ponte Vecchio, nicknamed Old Bridge, is a charming medieval bridge that was first constructed in 1218. Towering across the Arno River in Florence, Italy, it’s housed shops since the 13th century. Most famously, the Ponte Vecchio is known for being the only bridge along the river that withstood World War II attacks, ranking it among the famous spots that were almost demolished.
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Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge's vibrant orange coloring and art deco style is an essential American experience. The bridge’s 746-foot-tall towers and sweeping cables uphold the nearly 40 million vehicles that cross it each year.
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The Langkawi Sky Bridge is one of Malaysia’s most stellar sights. At over 410 feet long and 2,300 feet above sea level, this curved suspended bridge looks like its among the clouds. Below the bridge are breathtaking views of waterfalls and enchanting forests.
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The Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, Canada, is one of the longest bridges in Canada and one of Vancouver’s most iconic landmarks. The Guinness family paid a total of $5,873,837.17 to build the bridge before selling it — down to the exact penny — to the province of British Columbia.
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More than 350 years after its creation, Iran’s most famous bridge remains a cultural hub. Located in the city of Isfahan, the Khaju Bridge is highlighted with gorgeous paintings and tilework, which decorate the 436-foot long bridge. At night, golden lights illuminate the arches like something out of a storybook.
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Constructed with wood and stones — and not a single nail or rivet — China’s Chengyang Bridge is an anomaly. The covered bridge has no shortage of wonders that surround it — like rivers, lush trees and rolling fields.
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The Brooklyn Bridge is arguably one of the most famous spots in the world. In fact, it's a famous movie location that has been featured in countless films like “Spiderman” and “Enchanted.”
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If you’ve ever wondered what a massive musical instrument would look like, look no further than the Puente del Alamillo in Sevilla, Spain. The harp-shaped road bridge is angled at 58 degrees and has 13 cables that are approximately 656 feet long.
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Kapellbrücke, or the Chapel Bridge, looks like it was plucked straight from the pages of a history book. The 650-year-old bridge might be the most beautiful photo spot in Lucerne, Switzerland, thanks to its city views and interior designs — images painted on the easels of the bridge are dedicated to how good fortune had guided the many accomplishments of the Old Swiss Confederacy.
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The Bixby Bridge, completed in 1932, is one of the highest bridges of its kind in the world. The California bridge towers 260 feet above the water below and is oftentimes referred to as Big Sur’s version of the Golden Gate Bridge. The dramatic views of the beautiful coastline and the bridge are unmatched.
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Charles Bridge, located in the Czech Republic, is Prague’s oldest preserved bridge. The history of the bridge dates back more than 600 years to when the foundation stone was laid in 1357. However, the bridge wasn’t complete until the 15th century. Today, Charles Bridge is famous for being an architectural religious landmark due to its dedication to various saints.
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Australia might be famous for the Great Barrier Reef, but the Sydney Harbor Bridge is arguably its most beautiful sight on land. With an arch spanning more than 1,650 feet, the Sydney Harbor Bridge is the largest steel arch bridge in the world.
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The Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Gateshead, England, is the only bridge in the world that tilts. The bridge is powered by electric motors — enough to power more than eight Ford Focus cars — and contains enough steel to make 64 double-decker buses.
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The Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong, China, is the world's longest dual-use suspension bridge, meaning both cars and trains can use it. To say this engineering marvel is massive is an understatement — its concrete towers are approximately 676 feet tall, and it’s over 7,000 feet long.
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For more than 125 years, Tower Bridge has been one of London’s most famous landmarks, Today, it is one of the most recognizable structures around the world. The bridge was constructed with moveable roadways for passing ships, and it still lifts to let them through to this day.
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The Royal Gorge Bridge near Canon City, Colorado, is the highest suspension bridge in the nation and stands 956 feet above the Arkansas River.
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Built by more than 5,000 local workers, the Confederation Bridge opened on May 31, 1997. Measuring 8 miles long, it is the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water. Confederation Bridge joins the eastern Canadian provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, the latter famously known for its beautiful beaches.
The Constitution Bridge — also known as the Calatrava Bridge — is the fourth bridge that spans across the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. The bridge is fairly new — it opened on Sept. 11, 2008 — but it’s just as gorgeous as the ones that have stood centuries.
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Also known as the Campo Volantin Footbridge, Zubizuri, which translates to “white bridge” in Basque, is a bridge in Bilbao, Spain. The 246-foot-long bridge has a steel arch consisting of 39 steel cables.
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When it comes to well-known bridges, the Manhattan Bridge is near the top of the list. The youngest of New York City’s famous bridges, the Manhattan Bridge opened on New Year’s Eve 1909. These days, the bridge is estimated to carry 106,700 commuters in vehicles, 4,000 bicyclists and 340,000 public transit riders every weekday. To commemorate the bridge’s 100th year in 2009, it was named a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
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The Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was designed by one of the greatest female architects: Zaha Hadid. A Pritzker award-winning architect and famous woman in history, Hadid is said to have designed one of the most complex bridges ever built with the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. The bridge is approximately 2,762 feet long and 210 feet high. Curved arches that decorate the bridge resemble sand dunes in shape, and soft colored lighting brings it to life from dusk to sunrise.
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El Puente de la Mujer, or Women's Bridge, is a bridge in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that was built to resemble a couple dancing the tango — the white mast is the man and the curve of the bridge is the woman. It is one of Argentina’s most famous landmarks.
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The Ponte Juscelino Kubitschek — also known as the JK Bridge — is an arch bridge in Brasilia, Brazil. It’s notable for its three arches, all of which appear to be looping from out of the water. The JK Bridge and its designer have won several awards for its beauty.
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Python Bridge, nicknamed High Bridge, is a structure in Amsterdam famous for its bright red coloring and resemblance to a snake. Animal lovers won’t find any actual snakes on the bridge, however. The bridge’s picturesque beauty against Amsterdam’s blue sky will leave anyone stunned.
The Twist is a modern building in Jevnaker, Norway, that looks like a simple bridge but is actually a bridge, sculpture and museum all in one. Its middle contorts, creating the effect of a 90-degree twist, hence the name. But unlike other bridges, it’s the inside rather than the outside that leaves one stunned. The bridge has floor-to-ceiling windows and enough space to hold public and private collections of art.
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Pont Alexandre III is a grandiose bridge in Paris. It was constructed for the Exposition Universelle of 1900, also known as the 1900 Paris Exposition, an international world fair. Pont Alexandre III is one of Paris’ most beautiful landmarks not only because it provides the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower, but also because it is an open-air museum with beautiful sculptures.
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Stari Most, or the Old Bridge, is a man-made marvel that appears to be stuck in time. When the bridge was completed in the 16th century, it was the bridge with the widest arch in the world. The Old Bridge was destroyed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s but has since been reconstructed
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The Dragon Bridge in Da Nang, Vietnam, might be one of the coolest bridges in the world. Measuring about 2,185 feet long, the Dragon Bridge was constructed to mimic an actual dragon, an important symbol in Vietnamese folklore. In the evening, the bridge is illuminated with 2,500 LED lights. And during weekends and festivities, the dragon’s head spits water or breathes fire.
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Unlike most bridges, the root bridges in Meghalaya, India, aren’t made from steel or even aluminum. Much like their name implies, they are made from actual living roots. In order for one to be built, locals plant tree trunks on parallel sides of a water bank and slowly direct the roots across temporary scaffolding to connect the gap. The process can take 10 to 15 years. And while bridges made of modern materials like concrete and steel can crumble over time, the root bridges stand the test of time, often becoming stronger over time and lasting centuries.
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The Seven Mile Bridge is the longest bridge in the Florida Keys. When it was completed in 1912, it was known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” With some of the clearest, blue waters to both the left and right of the bridge, the Seven Mile Bridge is famous for its views.
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Cau Vang, or Golden Bridge, might be a footbridge, but it takes the phrase “hands-on experience” to a new level. The pedestrian bridge seems to be held up by a pair of massive hands emerging from a forest underneath the structure.
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When the Sunshine Skyway Bridge opened in 1954, it was almost named the Magic Carpet because of its fantastical length. Costing a total of $22 million to construct, at the time of its building it was the longest unbroken bridge in the United States and one of the longest bridges in the world. When a freighter, blinded by a devastating storm, crashed into the bridge in 1980, it was destroyed. Seven years later, the bridge was reconstructed and open for travelers. The new Skyway is even bigger than the original, standing approximately 430 feet tall.
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The Mackinac Bridge in Mackinac, Michigan, nicknamed “The Mighty Mac,” is the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world and the longest in the Western Hemisphere. The bridge opened to traffic in 1957 and has since become a gorgeous staple of the Midwest.
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Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Dallas is one of the city’s most notable landmarks, standing 1,206 feet long and 120 feet wide. Its white arch — a Dallas skyline icon — stretches 446 feet into the sky at this warm-weather spot.
The Laguna Garzon Bridge is a circular bridge in Garzón, Uruguay, that looks like a giant wedding ring. The curves were constructed to encourage drivers to follow the rules of the road and slow down around curves, while the streamlined design is supposed to minimally interfere with the surrounding ecosystem.
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The Trift Bridge in Gadmen, Switzerland, sits 328 feet above the Trift Glacier. The bridge is surrounded by majestic mountains and clear, blue glacier waters.
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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel goes underwater. Measuring 17.6 miles long, this road connects Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Cape Charles by transforming from an above-ground bridge to an underwater tunnel. Since its opening in 1964, it's been recognized as “One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers, and it remains the world’s largest bridge-tunnel complex.
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The Glacier Skywalk in Alberta, Canada, stands 900 feet above the Sunwapta Valley floor below. It is made completely of glass, steel and wood, and took a total of three years to construct. The Skywalk, ranks among the most beautiful spots in a park.
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The John A. Roebling Bridge is a 1,057-foot span bridge that stretches from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Covington, Kentucky. When it was opened in 1867, it held the title of the longest bridge in the world. It was designed by John A. Roebling, who would later go on to design the Brooklyn Bridge.
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The Helix Bridge in Singapore is a striking walkway that resembles a DNA strand. More than 900 feet long and enclosed by double-helix formations made of stainless steel, the Helix Bridge is a gorgeous bridge unlike any other. And at night, bright LED lights illuminate the walkway. If modern architecture isn't your style, check out pictures of these beautiful historic mansions that are frozen in time.
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