History of Bridges

Old Bridge

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.

Bridges History

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)

Facts about Bridges

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)

Most Famous Bridges

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)

Roman Arch Bridge

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 bridge structure.

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.

Latest articles:
  • 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.

  • Most Famous Bridges

    The world if filled with many magnificent bridges, but some managed to distinguish themselves with their famous design, long life or impact they had on our history. Here you can read more about some of the most famous bridges in the world.

  • 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.

Featured articles:
  • 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.