History of Bridges
Bridge is a structure that provides passage over obstacles such as valleys, rough terrain or bodies of water by spanning those obstacles with natural or
manmade materials. They first begun be used in ancient times when first modern civilizations started rising in the Mesopotamia. From that point on,
knowledge, engineering, and manufacture of new bridge building materials spread beyond their borders, enabling slow but steady adoption of bridges all
across the world.
In the beginning bridges were very simple structures that were built from easily accessible natural resources- wooden logs, stone and dirt. Because of
that, they had ability only to span very close distances, and their structural integrity was not high because mortar was not yet invented and rain slowly
but constantly dissolved dirt fillings of the bridge. Revolution in the bridge construction came in Ancient Rome whose engineers found that grinded out
volcanic rocks can serve as an excellent material for making mortar. This invention enabled them to build much more sturdier, powerful and larger
structures than any civilization before them. Seeing the power of roads and connections to distant lands, Roman architects soon spread across the Europe,
Africa and Asia, building bridges and roads of very high quality.
Bridge history is filled with incredible achievements and new technologies that enabled bridges to become one of the most important tools of bridging cities, countries and continents. This is their story.(more)
During their long history, bridges managed to influence our culture and improve the way we travel, do business and forge policies. Here you can found out some of the most incredible facts about bridges. (more)
If you want to know what bridges ar the most famous in the world, here is the perfect place to do so. Learn about historical bridges, marvels of modern engineering and bridges with the designs that will live forever.(more)
One of the defining successes of Roman bridge architecture was their discovery of arches. By using this type of building, load forces of the bridge were
conveyed to move along the curve of the arch, meeting with the ground where they were canceled by supports on the end of the arch. Because of that, Romans
were able to create bridges that were much lighter than before and were able to hold load that was twice as heavy as the bridge itself. In construction of
their numerous aqueducts, Roman architects even managed to create water carrying bridges with multiple arched tiers that reached incredible heights!
By using this new building technique, Romans had the ability to quickly produce cheap, light and very powerful bridges from materials that could be found
in the vicinity of the project. The only material that had to be imported from Italy was mortar dust, which was combined with water and inserted into
After the fall of roman empire, bridge building techniques in Europe and Asia stagnated until the 18th century (if we ignore introduction of Rope
suspension bridges that were brought back to Europe from Central and South America) when new age of science and engineering swept across the world.
Architects of that time started using new construction material – cast iron! Iron enabled creation of new bridge designs such as truss systems. Sadly,
wrought iron did not have tensile strength to support heavy structures, which was fixed with the advent of steel and the ideas of famous French architect
and engineer Gustave Eiffel.
Modern bridges are usually made with the combination of concrete, irons and cables, and can be built from very small sizes to incredible lengths that span
entire mountains, rough landscapes, lakes and seas.
- List of Sea Bridges
During the history, islands were, more often than not, connected to the mainland by the way of boats. As the technology improved it was possible to build bridges to the islands, some over 20 kilometers long. Read more about sea bridges.
- Channel Tunnel
One of the seven modern wonders of the world – Channel tunnel between Britain and France has a much longer history than we could assume at first sight. It existed in the minds of dreamers for two centuries.
- Movable Bridge
First moveable bridges were built to prevent the enemy to reach the gates of the castle. Today they are made at places where a cheap bridge is needed but there is also a need for an unobstructed river traffic. Read more about different types of movable bridges.
- Ancient Roman Bridges
Ancient Roman bridges represent one of the greatest wonders of our history, and a starting point of the bridge engineering. Here you can find out more about roman techniques and building processes that have inspired the work of countless modern architects.
- History of Tunnels
Together with the advancements in bridge building technologies, tunnels also received much attention by engineers who wanted to expand road, passenger and water networks across entire world. Here is their story.
- Famous Bridge Disasters
Bridges are structures that need to be built to withstand incredible external forces and last for decades or centuries. Sadly many bridges have succumbed to their wounds and took with them many human lives. Here you can find some of the most famous bridge disasters in human history.
- List of Longest Bridges In The World
Modern architects and engineers constantly try to outdo each other, managing to build large and tall bridges all around the world. Here you can find list of most impressive bridges and bridge complexes.
- Golden Gate Bridge History
Built in the 1933, famous Golden Gate Bridge represents one of the most memorable structures of the modern American history and the iconic companion to the beautiful city of San Francisco. If you always wondered how it was made, here is the perfect place to find out.