Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Ancient Chinese Architecture - Bridge

Bridge is one of the most interesting components of ancient Chinese architecture. For thousands of years, Chinese have built tons of ingeniously designed and magnificent bridges. Crossing over mountains, spanning rivers. beautified landscapes, facilitated transportation, promoted cultural exchange.

Baqiao Bridge in Xi'an, built in Han Dynasty, is the earliest bridge with stone piers. It is 386 m long with 64 arches. It served as the key passage linking the vast areas to the east of the capital city Chang'an. the oldest age, longest span, most grandiose scale, multi-span stone arch bridge known today. In ancient days, when local residents of Chang'an badge farewell to a relative or a friend, they would usually see him off at Baqiao Bridge. Besides, they would break a twig of a nearby willow tree and give it to the traveler as a token of good wishes. Gradually, this practice became a local custom. Today, the bridge has been renovated and its surroundings have become more intriguing. Zhaozhou Bridge in Zhaoxian county of Hebei province, about 1,400 years ago of Sui Dynasty. It is the first single arch stone bridge in the world. Its designer and builder, Li Chun, was a famous mason. There are many unique feature about this bridge. It has mild slopes for carts and pedestrians crossing. On its shoulders there are four arch-shaped holes, which saves building materials and reduced the weight of the bridge, and also ease of flow of water in case of flood.

Lugou Bridge over Yongding River in the suburb of Beijing, has a history of more than 900 years. It is 260 m long with more than 200 stone columns on both sides. The most interesting scene is that each column is crowned with a carved stone lion which has its individual posture. Visitors would usually count the lions to know the exactly number.

There are many other ancient bridges in China. Ping'an Bridge in Jinjiang and Luoyang Bridge in Quanzhou of Fujian province, Jiuqu Bridge in West Lake of Hangzhou, Baodai Bridge in Suzhou and the Yudai Bridge in Summer Palace of Beijing.

People built mini bridge in their home garden, painter created bridge artwork, opera performer mimic crossing bridge, and a lovers made a date on bridges. Bridge have become one of a remarkable ancient Chinese civilization.

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