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Captivating Bridges That Span the Centuries

Bridges serve more than the functional purposes they were designed for. They are the embodiment of the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the designers and architects, and the cultures and peoples who commissioned them.

Constructed from diverse materials, each bridge has a distinct beauty and a story to tell. We guarantee this list of beautiful bridges includes at least a few you'll want to add to your bucket list. Get your passport out and your bags packed, and get ready to traverse these behemoths.

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01The Bosphorus Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge at night

Extending from Ortakoy to Beylerbeyl, this steel suspension bridge connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul in a 19-minute journey. You can also experience the sheer 1560m length of the bridge during the annual Istanbul Marathon. The idea of joining the two continents goes back to 400BC when Darius I sought to rule the Balkans. Spanning the strait between the Black and Mediterranean Seas, the Bosphorus is best visited at night when illuminated by LED lights. A must-do is a cruise beneath the bridge, along the Bosphorous River, followed by a meal at one of the many restaurants dotting the bank on both sides.

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02Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana, United States

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana

The Guinness Record holder for the longest continuous bridge over water, this causeway is two parallel bridges over the brackish lake between Metaine, New Orleans, and Mandeville. It has 9500 pilings and features a bascule, which means it can be raised to allow water vehicles to pass. In the 19th century, Bernard de Marigny, the founder of Mandeville, started a ferry service across the lake. The bridge spans an astonishing 23.87 miles, giving it the illusion of being endless from some vantages.

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03Kaaiman's River Pass, Wilderness, South Africa

Kaaiman's River Pass, Wilderness, South Africa

This 690-foot-long rail bridge located in the Kaaimansgat Pass is one of the Seven Passes between George and Knysna. Surrounded by lush mountains, amber-colored water, and powerful tidal waves, this concrete bridge has been closed off since 2006 due to flooding. Get to the nearby Dolphin's Point around sunrise to catch sight of the curving bridge, the playful dolphins, and panoramic views of the ocean.

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04Rakotzbrücke, Germany

Rakotzbrücke, Germany fantasy bridge

One of six such bridges in Europe, this 160-year-old arched bridge is located in the scenic Kromlauer Park, in Gorlitz. Straight out of a Tolkien novel, this precarious, Instagram-worthy stone structure reflects a symmetrical circle on the water. Legend has it that only the devil as a masterful architect could build such a gravity-defying structure, and he did so in exchange for the soul of the first person to cross the bridge.

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05The Golden Bridge, Da Nang, Vietnam

The Golden Bridge, Da Nang, Vietnam

In the Nui Chua Mountains, huge weathered hands hold up a pedestrian bridge en route to the world's longest cable car. This fiberglass and gold-painted steel bridge forms part of the Sun World Bá Ná Hill Amusement Park, a village inspired by French villas and the imperial city of Hue. Escape the stifling summer heat when visiting Vietnam by escaping to the hills as the French once did.

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06Vasari Corridor, Florence, Italy

Vasari Corridor, Florence, Italy old bridge

The Old Bridge, over the Arno River, is a footbridge of three segmented stone arches. The "houses"are tiny shops dealing in jewellery, antiques, and art. The Medici family used the Corridor when moving between the Palazzio Vecchio and the Palazzo Pitti. Ferdinand I de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, decreed that the passageway be occupied by jewelers and goldsmiths alone when the smell caused by butchers, tanners, and farmers bothered him. Experience this bridge in all its glory from the water by catching a ride on a barchetto.

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07Bank Bridge, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Bank Bridge, Saint Petersburg, Russia

The narrow pedestrian bridge over the Griboedov Canal is guarded by four golden-winged griffins. Within a short walking distance are the Nevsky Prospekt, Kazan Cathedral, Singer House, and the Cathedral of the Savior on Spilled Blood. Local folklore has it that those in financial distress should kiss one of the griffin's tails or place a coin under a paw to seek help for their difficulties.

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08Zhanjiajie Glass Bridge, Zhanjiajie, China

Zhanjiajie Glass Bridge, Zhanjiajie, China

This 980-foot skywalk made from 120 tampered glass panels resides in the Wulingyuan District, in Hunan province, and spans the Zhanjiajie National Forest Park canyon. The longest and tallest glass-bottomed bridge in the world, it shows reverence to nature and strength in adversity. Lately, there have been concerns about the safety of the bridge, especially in inclement weather.

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09The Dona Ana Bridge, Mozambique

Stretching over the Zambezi River, this 86-year old "mirage" links Vila de Sena and Mutarara and serves as a rail bridge connecting Mozambique. Africa's former longest rail bridge, with curved white triangulated metal arches, allows visitors the opportunity to gaze at the hippos while waiting for traffic to be allowed to pass in one direction at every other hour. The Dona Ana's origins can be traced back to the 12th century.

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10Pont du Gard, Provenance, France

Pont du Gard, Provenance, France

The ancient Shelley limestone aqueduct built by the Romans in 60AD, Pont du Gard carried water to the city of Nimes. The bridge remains in excellent condition and has been labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nearby Pont du Gard lies the picturesque village of Castillon du Gard.

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11Eshima Ohashi Bridge, Sakaiminato, Japan

This rigid-framed roller coaster bridge reaches up to the sky only to plunge down dramatically, giving viewers from the ground the sense that approaching cars are in free-fall. The two-lane concrete bridge has a 5.1% gradient and looks more terrifying than it is. It looks like an engineering feat that hit a snag but it is by design to allow ships to pass without holding up traffic. It is known as Betabumi-Zaka, a pedal-to-the-metal slope" in Japanese.

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12Las Lajas Bridge, Colombia

Las Lajas Bridge, Colombia

This shale-like rock double-arched bridge spans a canyon on the Guáltara River. It was constructed shortly after a local woman and her deaf/mute daughter, who was miraculously healed, saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary while seeking cover during a rainstorm. The 65-foot bridge connects to the Las Lajas Santuary, considered to be the most beautiful church in Colombia. The majestic setting beckons thousands of tourists each year, regardless of their spirituality.

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13Qéswachaka Hanging Bridge, Peru

Qéswachaka Hanging Bridge, Peru

Every year for the last 600 years, the rope bridge across the Apurimac River has been fashioned from straw and torn down the next year in an elaborate ceremony. The Incas were fiber craftsmen who sought fast and effective solutions to their problems, and this unique bridge fulfilled their needs. To enjoy this ancient ritual, you'll have to embark on a three-hour journey from Cusco.

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14Shahara, Yemen

The Ahnum Mountain range in northwestern Yemen boasts a bridge designed to fall apart when under siege. Some people say the bridge was built by building lower bridges from which the topmost one could be constructed. Others say the architect, al-Yaman, built the bridge from his end while the other part was completed from the neighboring town. Al-Yaman lost his mind three years after it being built, supposedly overcome by the sheer magnitude of the project.

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15Mozezbrug, Halsteren, Netherlands

This Accoya wood bridge was built in 2010, but it preserves the concept of the Hollandic Water Line. Started in 1629 to prevent a French invasion, the bridge appears to have parted the water. Its biblical concept is enhanced by its simplicity, which would not have been out of place in the 17th century.

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