World's Most Beautiful Bridges

Michele Falzone/JAI/Corbis

You'll cross these bridges when you come to them—all 12, from an ancient Iranian meeting place to a modern French viaduct, are stunning in their own way.

Millau Viaduct, France
Opened in 2004
At 62 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower, the 1,125-foot Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge of its kind in the world. Designed by British starchitect Norman Foster (with the help of engineer Michel Virlogeux), the cable-stayed, masted structure spans a mile and a half between two plateaus in the Tarn Valley of southern France and is part of a network of highways that link Paris and Barcelona.

Khaju Bridge, Iran
Opened around 1650
Located in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, this two-level brick-and-stone pedestrian bridge has been a meeting point for locals for more than 350 years. The 435-foot-long, low-lying Khaju, built by Shah Abbas II, who came to power at the age of 10, is highlighted by 23 Islamic arches. It also functions as a dam.

The Atlantic Road, Norway
Opened in 1989
Drive this graceful five-and-a-half mile stretch of concrete bridges in Norway and you'll quickly see why the Atlantic Road was voted Norway's Construction of the Century in 2005. Connecting small islands and fishing villages, the eight successive bridges twist and swell in mind-boggling fashion. The longest of the eight bridges is Storseisundet Bridge, at 853 feet.

Henderson Waves, Singapore
Opened in 2008
Stunning and sleek, Singapore's tallest pedestrian bridge—12 stories high—is 900 feet of undulating steel and wood that snakes across Henderson Road, connecting Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. The bridge, which has seven crests in all, won the prestigious President's Design Award in 2009. Its whimsical design is only bested by the great view it affords of the Singapore skyline.

Navajo Bridge, Arizona
Opened in 1929
This spandrel arch bridge in Glen Canyon National Park, 467 feet above Marble Canyon and the Colorado River, is really two spans in one. Traffic became too much for the original, so a new, nearly identical bridge was opened in 1995, and the older bridge became pedestrian only.

The Iron Bridge, England
Opened in 1781
This diminutive 18th-century bridge in the West Midlands region of central England was the first arched bridge built of cast iron, a symbol of the Industrial Revolution. The designer, Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, had no precedent to follow, so he based the design on carpentry techniques. It worked and quickly became an instant tourist marvel.

Stari Most, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Opened in 1566
Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of the 1990s Balkan wars (particularly after it was shelled), "Old Bridge," or Stari Most, in Mostar was rebuilt in 2004 from its own rubble and is just as beautiful as it was on the day of its completion in the 16th century. To take full advantage of Stari Most, do like the locals have been doing for centuries, and take a 66-foot dive from its central arch into the Neretva River below.

We'd be crazy to leave these beauties off the list.

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Australia
Opened in 1932
Known as "the coathanger" by locals, this steel arch bridge is the tallest of its kind, at 440 feet. Nearly 800 homes and a high school had to be demolished to make way for the bridge, but its construction gave employment to many Depression-era laborers. Accommodating automobiles, trains, and pedestrians, the Harbour Bridge is one of the country's iconic symbols.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Opened in 1937
Referred to as a "thirty-five million dollar steel harp" by the San Francisco Chronicle on the day it opened, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the world's most photographed spans. The orange 4,200-foot-long bridge is the second longest of its kind in the United States (after New York City's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge).

Brooklyn Bridge, New York City
Opened in 1883
The Big Apple's beloved 6,016-foot suspension bridge over the East River has the distinction of being the only major bridge to have been built by a woman. Well, sort of: When Emily Warren Roebling's husband, the chief engineer, fell ill, Mrs. Roebling took the helm, and many believe it was she who finished one of the world's greatest bridges.

Charles Bridge, Czech Republic
Opened in 1357
The secret ingredient in this majestic gothic bridge in Prague, which has endured numerous wars and floods over the last six centuries, is eggs. Seriously—it is believed that eggs were mixed into the mortar to strengthen it during construction. The intricate Baroque sculptures on the bridge were added beginning in the 17th century as a way to help re-Catholicize the city after the Reformation (consider it some of the most beautiful propaganda you've ever seen).

Ponte Vecchio, Italy
Opened in 1345
This gorgeous ramshackle bridge over the Arno River in Florence was once the smelliest places in town: It housed the shops of butchers and fishmongers until 1593, when Ferdinand I won the hearts (and noses) of Florentines by replacing the food workers with goldsmiths. Today, tourists can still stroll this elegant span while shopping for jewelry.

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