We don’t usually think too much about bridges. Most of them are simply functional, there to help us cross canals or rivers or even canyons. There are many different kinds of bridges, with many different functions. Some of them are used by pedestrians, some of them are used by cars and others still are used by railways. Overall though, most people don’t give bridges a second thought. They’re just there when we need them to be. Not all of them were “just there,” of course, and over the centuries, there have been a number of bridges that advanced both function and form; in fact, bridge-building has become not only a feat of engineering, but an artistic endeavor as well. With many bridges offering not only a pathway from one side to the other, but some breathtaking architecture, there are some bridges that have become truly iconic. Here’s a look at 10 of the most fascinating and iconic bridges in the world.
11. Tower Bridge -U.K.
We might be more familiar with the refrain “London Bridge is falling down,” but the Tower Bridge, a combined suspension and bascule construction, is probably the most iconic bridge across the River Thames today. Built in the late 19th century as a response to increased commercial activity in the east end of England’s capital city, the Tower Bridge has become symbolic of London. Although the bridge has 2 towers, it takes its name from the nearby Tower of London.
The bridge posed a problem for river traffic, as tall ships navigating the River Thames in the late 19th century would be cut off from the Pool of London, a port between London Bridge and the Tower of London. The idea to make the bridge a bascule construction, which would allow the passage of tall ships when the bascules were raised, solved this issue and construction was completed in 1894. The pedestrian walkway between the 2 towers, above the bascules, serves as an exhibition space. Before the 2012 Summer Olympics, the bridge was given a facelift and was featured prominently during the opening ceremonies of the Games.