I wrote about Taiwan’s Rainbow Bridge yesterday, and while it is certainly a beautiful structure, it isn’t very well known. So today, I figured I’d take a look at the top five most famous bridges on Earth.
5. Ponte de Sospiri
This tiny bridge in Venice, Italy has a somewhat dark origin. The pathway connects a prison with Doge’s Palace, so many people believed that the bridge would offer prisoners one last glimpse of freedom before meeting their executioner — hence the name, “Bridge of Sighs.” This rumor was actually incorrect, because the prison housed thieves and other criminals who weren’t slated for the gallows. Nowadays, it’s a great spot for hot dates and marriage proposals. People still making longing sighs under its arch, but for completely different reasons.
4. Covered Bridges
I live in New England where covered bridges are a quaint relic for early American history. It’s pretty much impossible to drive through the countryside without coming across signs inviting you to come see a covered bridge tucked away in some quiet corner of the woods. Vermont alone possesses more than 100 covered bridges (and keep in mind just how tiny Vermont is).
The cover acted as a way to protect the bridge. By guarding the structural components from the elements, bridge builders could extend the lifespans of their creations from about 10 years to 100. Somewhat ironically, locals had to shovel snow onto the pathway during the winter in order to accommodate sleds and horse-drawn carriages.
These bridges aren’t as massive or spectacular as other bridges on the list, but they offer rustic charm that you can’t find anywhere else. The picture above is the Albany Covered Bridge from New Hampshire.
3. Brooklyn Bridge
If I were judging based on beauty rather than fame, Brooklyn Bridge probably wouldn’t make the list. It’s certainly well-known, but it isn’t the most stunning piece of architecture ever built. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the US and temporarily held the record as the world’s longest suspension bridge. Most importantly, the bridge became a symbol of American ingenuity and technology. According to urban legend, the old scam “I’ve got a bridge to sell you” originated in New York after conmen would sell the bridge to gullible tourists.
2. Tower Bridge
If you watched the 2012 Olympic Games then you probably saw flyover shots of this bridge about 40 berjillion times. You also probably thought that this is London Bridge. If you did, then you were wrong. London Bridge is the next bridge upstream and is actually fairly unremarkable. This bridge, the Tower Bridge, is one of London’s most iconic landmarks.
It’s a good thing I told you. Now, the next time you have the Queen over for tea you won’t make a fool of yourself by mixing up the two bridges.
1. The Golden Gate Bridge
I can safely say that the Golden Gate Bridge is the most famous bridge ever built. The bridge stands as a symbol of San Francisco and the United States, so much so that it is instantly recognizable to many people who don’t even know a lick of English. It has often been called the most photographed bridge in the world, and for good reason – the striking red with the gently sloping suspension cables create a truly unforgettable scene, especially when the fog rolls in.