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The Four Most Famous Ancient Bridges  in China

Ancient Chinese bridges  are universally acknowledged and have enjoyed high prestige in the bridge history of both the East and the West. Throughout history, the Chinese nation has erected thousands of ingeniously designed and magnificent bridges. Crossing over mountains, spanning rivers, they have facilitated transportation, beautified landscapes and have become one of the marks of ancient Chinese civilization.

Luoyang Bridge
The Luoyang Bridge lies over the Luoyang River, which divides Quanzhou City  and Hui'an County 10 kilometers east of Quanzhou City in Fujian Province . Luoyang Bridge, also known as Wan'an Bridge , is a girder-type stone bridge. Its construction began in 1053 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and lasted seven years. The original bridge was over 1,200 meters long and five meters wide, with 46 piers, 500 railings, 28 stone lions, seven pavilions and nine stone pagodas. The bridge was listed among other famous girder stone bridges in ancient China.

 luoyang bridge
 zhaozhou bridge
Luoyang Bridge
Zhaozhou Bridge

Zhaozhou Bridge :
The oldest arch bridge in China, which is still surviving and well-preserved, is the Anji Bridge  also known as the Zhaozhou Bridge, at Zhou County , Hebei Province . Built in the Sui Dynasty , It is a single segmental stone arch, composed of 28 individual arches bonded transversely, 37.02m in span and rising 7.23m above the chord line. Narrower in the upper part and wider in the lower, the bridge averages 9m in width. The main arch ring is 1.03m thick with protective arch stones on it. Each of its spandrels is perforated by two small arches, 3.8m and 2.85m respectively in clear span, so that flood water can be drained and the bridge weight is lightened as well. The Anji Bridge has a segmental deck and the parapets are engraved with dragons and other animals. Its construction started in A.D. 595 and was completed in A.D. 605. Up to now it has survived for 1387 years.

Guangzi Bridge
Guangzi Bridge (literally Great Charity Bridge), also known as Siangze Bridge  is situated at east urban Chaozhou China. The Hang River  has been crossed by the Guangzi Bridge for over 800 years. The old bridge was the first opening bridge in the world.
The Guangzi was originally a boat bridge built in 1170 AD in Southern Song Dynasty  with the length of 518 metres (1,700 ft). Later construction of piers and framework started from both banks of the river on which it was moored, and a full 200 years later the Guangzi Bridge, a floating section of 18 supporting wooden boats in between two beamed sections, was completed. When necessary the floating section can be disconnected for the passage of big boats, an innovation that set a precedent in bridge-building history. There are two iron cows standing at both ends of the bridge, in the hope of protecting the bridge from the flood damage. A feature that makes the bridge particularly outstanding is that its two beamed sections resemble waterside streets with 24 different styles' pavilions and towers on the 24 piers for doing business, which become a special view on the bridge.

 guangzi bridge
 lugou bridge
Guangzi Bridge
Lugou Bridge

Lugou Bridge :
The Lugou Bridge across the Youngding River  is located at Wanping County , 15 kilometers away from Guang'anmen , Beijing. The project began in A.D. 1188 and was completed in A. D. 1192 of the Jin Dynasty . 212.2 meters long, 9.3 meters wide, it has 11 semicircular arches, ranging from 11.4 meters to 13.45 meters in span. The piers are from 6.5 meters to 7.9 meters wide; their pointed cutwaters upstream are inlaid with triangular iron bars, while the downstream sides are square in shape but without two angles. The parapets are divided into 269 sections with columns in-between, each column crowned with a carved lion.
When the bridge was first erected in the Jin Dynasty, all the lions were alike and very simple, but through the ages they were replaced each time by better ones, more delicately carved and different in style. Now, each lion has its individual posture. And more fascinating are the lion cubs. They are playing around their parents, clinging to the breast, squatting on the shoulder, nestling at the feet, or licking the face. These exquisite sculptures on the bridge and on the ornamental columns, which show the practical application of the aesthetic principle of unity and variation, have become a scene of attraction.

Another Version:
Jihong Bridge :
jihong bridgeThere is another version that the Jihong Bridge, instead of Lugou Bridge, is one of the four most famous bridges in ancient times. The Jihong Bridge at Yongping County , Yunnan Province is the oldest and broadest bridge with the most iron chains in China today. Spanning the Lanchang River , it is 113.4 meters long, 4.1 meters wide and 57.3 meters in clear span. The extant chain bridge was constructed in the year of 1475 and was named "Jihong Bridge". There are 16 bottom chains and a hand rail chain on each side. Every chain has 176 links, each 0.33 meters long and 3.9 kilograms in weight. The surface is paved with wooden boards for travelers' passage. The bridge is situated on the ancient road leading to India and Burma. The famous Italian traveler Marco Polo and the Ming Dynasty's  traveller Xu Xiake as well as the Ming Dynasty's Emperor Yongli  all visited this bridge. It is also called the First Bridge in Southwest China, having rather high value for the study of the history of bridge construction in this country.

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