Different types of bridges have been constructed since ancient times. This very, very old structure is kind-of-sort-of a bridge, which probably explains why it isn't in the Guiness Book of World Records, even though Bridges of Dublin says it predates the Caravan Bridge by at least 1,000 years. At its height, the Roman empire encompassed nearly 1.7 million square miles and included most of southern Europe. Then they sent across a vicar (who was probably worried about receiving the same fate as the cat) to meet with the Devil at the halfway point of the bridge. Why modern mortar crumbles, but Roman concrete lasts millennia. Arkadiko is technically a stone arch bridge (the oldest surviving), but there's not much in the way of architecture to it. Paradox: the best preserved Roman roads are not the ones in use today. These Roman roads—many of which are still in use today—were constructed with a combination of dirt, gravel and bricks made from granite or hardened volcanic lava. The interesting part of Ponte Vecchio (which translates into “Old Bridge”) is that it was built to contain an arcade of shops which is being used even today. Many of the roads, bridges and aqueducts of ancient Rome are still used today. In 1668, sculptor Lorenzo Bernini enhanced the bridge by designing 10 angels to adorn its length, two of which he made himself. These bridges were simple in nature, consisting of only trees tied together and used to cross rivers or channels. The original builders had some pretty valid concerns about the might of the river, so they originally built the bridge in two sections, with a raised cutwater in between that could help divert the river. Found in Exmoor, the Tarr Steps is what’s known as a clapper bridge—a bridge made entirely out of rocks resting atop one another. The Shaharah has a 65-foot span and people still use it today, even though it was literally designed to easily come apart if there was an army trying to cross it. Which sounds pretty impressive until you realize that you actually have to walk across the thing and it's basically held together like an origami chicken. Li Chun completed Anji in 605 during the Sui Dynasty, and the bridge is still in use today. The Colosseum, Italy. It differs from Roman bridges and the like in that its engineers knew spending hours breaking their backs by moving huge stones around was totally for suckers. It's much more impressive when you know you're looking at something built thousands of years ago, even if you might be disappointed to learn that you can't actually bake an extra-large meat-lover's in it. Unfortunately, humans have a long history of destroying things for fun and profit and arguing over things like whose crown is shinier and who's better at educating the population. It has a wider berth than a normal footbridge, with a road width of around 2.5 meters (8 ft). So instead, these ancient geniuses simply wove tree roots together and tended them until they formed super-strong, living bridges over the many rivers that crisscross the region. Due to being built to last, there are many bridges out there that were built hundreds of years before our time and still see daily use. The church Santa Sabina in Rome, built in 422 AD, hasn't been changed since it was built, and is still … Another Roman bridge, Pons Cestius, connects Tiber Island with the western side of the city (the one with the Vatican). Even after all these years, both the bridge and the angels still stand, making it a great sightseeing spot. Some of these can still be seen today traversing European valleys. In fact, when they got bored of sitting around the house watching the frescoes dry, the Romans would go out and build a bridge, just for a laugh. … The bridge is just over 200 feet long, and it connects an island in the Tiber River with the opposite bank. Ordered to be constructed by Emperor Hadrian in AD 136, Ponte Sant’Angelo (Bridge of the Holy Angel) is one of the most famous bridges in Rome . To ensure effective administration of this sprawling domain, the Romans built the most sophisticated system of roads the ancient world had ever seen. 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Testament of the building techniques of Ancient Rome can be witnessed even today, with hundreds and hundreds of their bridges still … However, these bridged structures made up only a small portion of the hundreds of kilometers of aqueducts throughout the empire. The bridge was built by Lucius Fabricius in 62 BC, possibly to replace a wooden bridge that had burned down. If you go to look at them for yourself, you’ll notice the column that represents Geta is currently missing. Roman bridges still stand and are in use today. Tarr Steps has a local legend that states that it was built by the Devil himself, who swore to kill anyone that dared to cross it. The Romans did not invent roads, of course, but, as in so many other fields, they took an idea which went back as far as the Bronze Age and extended that concept, daring to squeeze from it the fullest possible potential. The Arkadiko Bridge in Greece is the oldest surviving arch bridge still in use. All the bridges we've discussed so far are made of stone or brick, and there's a good reason for that — stone and brick are more likely to stand up to weather, war, and natural forces. A pavilion was constructed in the middle so that Shah Abbas II and his courtiers could look over the scenery. Instead, they get stability from an "inlaying of purlins and rafters." Built in the 17th century, Shaharah Bridge is a path that spans a 200-meter-deep (650 ft) canyon in order to connect two mountains, Jabal al Emir and Jabal al Faish. The Romans built many things that stood the test of time. This is probably one of the youngest bridges on our list, but it hardly matters because it gets extra points just for being really, really cool. For some reason, the Guiness Book of World Records didn't count England's Tarr Steps as an actual bridge when it elected Caravan Bridge as the "oldest bridge still in use." Second, it has secondary roots that sprout from its trunk higher than ground level, which is pretty convenient if you want to use those roots to cross a river. Unfortunately, the Tarr Steps is a slight exception to the trend of bridges that have stayed mostly intact throughout the ages. It's not as old as the stone bridges, but any wooden structure that can survive for centuries really ought to get bonus points. Like almost all of the engineering feats we've listed, the Romans didn't invent … At any rate, it looks pretty cool. Qiancheng Bridge was built in Pingnan County in China during the Song Dynasty, between 1127 and 1279 A.D. It is beautifully designed, featuring 14 original arcs spanning an imposing 1,148 feet. That lasted until the 17th century, when flooding damaged the cutwater and made it necessary to connect the two sections. The Alcántara Bridge over the Tagus River in Spain is one of the most beautiful. Pons Fabricius is a pedestrian bridge, so unless a couple thousand pedestrians try to stand on it at the same time, there's a very good chance it will remain standing for at least another couple centuries. Roman Bridge: A Roman bridge still being used today - See 179 traveller reviews, 112 candid photos, and great deals for Trier, Germany, at Tripadvisor. It was designed by one Antonio da Ponte, who had some stiff competition to design the bridge, with rivals being Michelangelo and Palladio. Caracalla went so far as to have Geta’s friends and allies put to death. Unlike many of the still-standing Roman bridges, Dezful was built from brick instead of stone and was particularly vulnerable to flooding. Its intent was to honor the Roman emperor Septimius Severus, his wife Julia, and their two sons, Caracalla and Geta. That look is actually by design. Pons Fabricius. That alone probably helped the bridge survive as long as it has. It crosses 123 feet of the Jiaohe River and is about 24 feet above the water. It's an "arcade bridge," and it looks similar in structure to the old covered bridges that still cross the American landscape, although it's much, much older. What makes it even more impressive is that it’s made purely from limestone boulders, using no binding agent between the stones to keep the bridge intact. Still, engineers were apparently confident enough that they let cars drive over the bridge up until the late '90s, when they finally made it a pedestrian-only bridge. Shaharah was built in the 17th century, so it's not super old, at least not by ancient bridge standards, but it's still worth a mention because it crosses a 300-foot-deep gorge and looks like it would probably crumble under your feet if you jabbed it with your toe. At least one government official was so impressed by Anji Bridge that he recorded the name of the architect, which wasn't something dynastic officials did very often. The materials used, construction techniques employed, and architectural styles for structures for government, entertainment, dwellings, bridges, and aqueducts will be discussed. According to CNN, Homer once crossed this bridge, and so did Saint Paul, though that's mostly legend since there weren't traffic cameras back then. When we think of buildings that have survived to the modern day, we think of structures such as the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Piza, and the pyramids. While old bridges often get destroyed in disasters, blown up in wars, or burned down in tragic accidents, the bridges in this list have survived the ages relatively unchanged. (There was once a second bridge connecting the island to the opposite bank, but it was destroyed in the late 1800s.) Among them, you can find a rare gem – an ancient Roman bath that has existed for 2000 years already, and that is classified as a protected national historical heritage. https://www.grunge.com/128851/ancient-bridges-still-in-use-today It stretches from the eastern side of the Tiber (the one with the Colosseum) to Tiber Island in the middle of the river. In the first century B.C., after establishing a colony in Augusta Emerita, in what is now Merida, Spain, they decided they needed a bridge to get across that pesky river. Later the Romans built bridges that were of a uniform material strength by using cement consisting of lim… The angel was said to have appeared in 590 BC on top of the same building and miraculously ended the plague in Rome. With their rigid and effective building techniques, a few important constructions built during the Roman era still stand to this day. Roman engineers brought water into the city by building water bridges called aqueducts. According to Atlas Obscura, the Tarr Steps might predate the Caravan Bridge by a century or two, though it's impossible to say when exactly it was built since there isn't any record of its construction. The largest Roman bridge ever built was the Trajan bridge over the river Danube. This bridge wouldn’t have made it to the modern day if it wasn’t for an act of respect performed during wartime. 3, 2017 , 1:00 PM. Roman road system, outstanding transportation network of the ancient Mediterranean world, extending from Britain to the Tigris-Euphrates river system and from the Danube River to Spain and northern Africa. and one of the most beautiful. Pons Fabricius may be the oldest functioning bridge in Rome, but according to the Guiness Book of World Records, the oldest functioning bridge in the world crosses the river Meles in Izmir, Turkey. Pedestrians are still permitted to cross the Dezful, though, and there is enough of the original structure still standing that it can claim to be one of today's oldest working bridges. It’s believed to have been built during the Greek Bronze Age, around 1300–1200 BC, meaning it has gone through a lot to make it to today. According to China Daily, arcade bridges were built using an arch structure similar to their stone cousins, but what's really remarkable about them is they're built without nails. Given that a pile of rocks doesn’t have the best of foundations, segments have been bowled over by floods through the course of history. It is called Hammam Essalihine (the bath of the righteous or thermal baths of Flavius) and the historical site is still used today … . Throughout Asia Minor and … Most utilized concrete as well, which the Romans were the first to use for bridges. Parts of the ancient Roman aqueduct system still supply water to fountains in Rome. The bridge was made to better connect the villages on both mountains to save time and effort. If you want to walk the Tarr Steps yourself, make sure there aren’t any sunbathing demons before you try. These days, Shaharah Bridge is a major tourist attraction, and it still receives its intended use by the locals as a functioning bridge. 10. The Arkadiko Bridge in Greece is basically a carefully arranged pile of rubble filling in a gully that is one of four known Mycenaean stone corbel arch bridges, built to make it easier for chariots to proceed unencumbered across the Grecian countryside. It was completed in 106 AD under Emperor Trajan. Still, it's fun to imagine that Homer might have dreamed up a few lines for "The Odyssey" while taking in the view, so we'll let it slide. Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge spared—they chose instead to destroy the access to the bridge, rather than the bridge itself. This ancient bridge was commissioned in 260 A.D., so even though some people call it "the oldest usable bridge in the world," it's at least a century younger than the Caravan Bridge. It has been in constant use since it opened, and you can still walk on the bridge today. In Turkey there are still some Roman roads and bridges, like in Cilicia, or at Cendere Cayi, where the Severan Bridge steps 112 feet across the creek. Given that Florence was becoming the hub of the Renaissance at the time, Grand Duke Ferdinand I had the merchants removed and the sale of fish and meat products on the bridge banned. Much of the Romans’ architectural mastery is due to their use of concrete. Paradox: the best preserved Roman roads are not the ones in use today. The oldest bridge still standing in Rome, the Pons Fabricius was constructed across the Tiber in 62 B.C. These bridges are made out of the roots of an Indian rubber tree, which has a couple of important characteristics — first, it has a very strong root system that lends itself to manipulation and can support a lot of weight. The first and most famous great Roman road was the Via Appia (or Appian Way). On each side, there are two columns that were built to represent the members of the emperor’s family—Severus and Julia on one side and Caracalla and Geta on the other. The Romans built long durable bridges. Perhaps the missing date-time stamp is what kept it out of the record books. No one knows exactly how old the root bridges are — some estimates say at least 500 years. The most recognizable feature of Roman aqueducts may be the bridges constructed using rounded stone arches. As it looks like a large pizza oven, this is another one of those bridges that you can't really appreciate without knowing something about its history. So hard, in fact, that there's even a local legend that the devil built the bridge as a place to go sunbathing, which is patently ridiculous since everyone knows the sun never comes out in England. Today this seriously elderly bridge is not only still standing and still in use but also has actual cars driving on it, which makes it not only a remarkable piece of ancient engineering but pretty terrifying if you're one of those drivers. https://followinghadrianphotography.com/2017/04/02/roman-bridges Like many ancient bridges, the Guadiana River Bridge has been repaired and rebuilt a number of times, so only some of it is original Roman, while the rest of it is of later construction. It wasn’t just a hot spot for transportation. It stretches from the eastern side of the Tiber (the one with the Colosseum) to Tiber Island in the middle of the river. If you’re in the mood to inspect their handiwork for yourself, simply take a trip to Rome and visit the Pons Fabricius bridge. Another Roman bridge, Pons Cestius, connects Tiber Island with the western side of … Source: Pal Meir Located in Greece, the Arkadiko bridge is the oldest surviving arch bridge that is still being used to this day. Its construction is slab-stone single-arch, and it's about 42 feet long. High on the list of old bridges that are really cool but also really, really terrifying is the Shaharah bridge in Yemen. This bridge has been impressing people for centuries — it's so old that you can read about it in ancient Chinese literature, where it's been described as a "rainbow in the sky" and as a "crescent moon rising from the clouds." Along the bridge—and still visible to this day— is an impressive array of paintings and tile work. The bridge's builders simply filled the area around a culvert with large stones, leaving a relatively small hole to allow the water to pass underneath. Conquering other humans and building bridges, but only in the strictest literal sense of the word. It was built to replace a wooden bridge that didn’t stand up too well against floods, and it still remains in its original glory. Constructed from 312 BCE and covering 196 km (132 Roman miles), it linked Rome to Capua in as straight a line as possible and was kn… See below: Nice, but not exactly open to heavy traffic. He enjoys a good keyboard, cats, and tea, even though the three of them never blend well together. S.E. From a safe distance. But what about structures that are still in use—their original use—to this day? Legend has it that the bridge was constructed by prisoners of war after the fall of the Roman Empire to make use of their famed construction skills. It's not super-impressive to look at — if you were a tourist in Izmir you'd probably entirely fail to notice it unless someone said to you, "Hey, this bridge is almost 3,000 years old.". One of the dome and the arch day— is an impressive array of paintings and tile work, once was... 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