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    Home History and Culture Ancient Bridges of China
    Ancient Bridges of China
    Learn Chinese - History and Culture

    guangzi bridge

    Ancient Chinese bridges (zhōng guó gǔ dài qiáo liáng 中國古代橋梁) are universally acknowledged and have enjoyed high prestige in the bridge history of both the East and the West. Throughout history, the Chinese nation has erected thousands of ingeniously designed and magnificent bridges. Crossing over mountains, spanning rivers, they have facilitated transportation, beautified landscapes and have become one of the marks of ancient Chinese civilization.

    Types of bridges
    Ancient Chinese bridges can be classified under four categories: the beam (liáng qiáo 梁橋), arch (gǒng qiáo 拱橋), cable suspension (suǒ qiáo 索橋) and floating bridges (fú qiáo 浮橋).

    beam bridge
    Beam Bridge (liáng qiáo 梁橋): A Beam Bridge is in structural terms the simplest of the many bridge types. Like most bridges that are characterized by how they are supported, beam bridges consist of one horizontal beam (héng liáng 橫梁) with 2 supports usually on either end.
    arch bridge
    Arch Bridge (gǒng qiáo 拱橋): An Arch Bridge is a bridge with abutments at each end shaped as a curved arch. Arch bridges work by transferring the weight of the bridge and its loads partially into a horizontal thrust restrained by the abutments at either side.
    cable suspension bridge
    Cable Suspension Bridge (suǒ qiáo 索橋): A Suspension Bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck (the load-bearing portion) is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders.? The weight is transferred by the cables to the towers, which in turn transfer the weight to the ground.
    floating bridge
    Floating Bridge (fú qiáo 浮橋): A Pontoon Bridge or Floating Bridge is a bridge that floats on water, supported by barge-or-boat-like pontoons to support the bridge deck and its dynamic loads. Pontoon bridges are especially useful in wartime as river crossings.

    The Four Most Famous Bridges
    Luoyang Bridge (luò yang qiáo 洛陽橋):
    The Luoyang Bridge lies over the Luoyang River, which divides Quanzhou City (quán zhōu shì 泉州市) and Hui'an County (huái ān xiàn 淮安縣), 10 kilometers east of Quanzhou City in Fujian Province (fú jiàn shěng 福建省). Luoyang Bridge, also known as Wan'an Bridge (wàn ān qiáo 萬安橋), is a girder-type stone bridge. Its construction began in 1053 during the Northern Song Dynasty (běi sòng 北宋) (960-1127) and lasted seven years. The original bridge was over 1,200 meters long and five meters wide, with 46 piers, 500 railings, 28 stone lions, seven pavilions and nine stone pagodas. The bridge was listed among other famous girder stone bridges in ancient China.

    ?luoyang bridge
    ?zhaozhou bridge
    Luoyang Bridge (luò yang qiáo 洛陽橋)
    Zhaozhou Bridge (zhào zhōu qiáo 趙州橋)

    Zhaozhou Bridge (zhào zhōu qiáo 趙州橋):
    The oldest arch bridge in China, which is still surviving and well-preserved, is the Anji Bridge (ān jì qiáo 安濟橋) also known as the Zhaozhou Bridge, at Zhou County (zhào xiàn 趙縣), Hebei Province (héběi shěng 河北省). Built in the Sui Dynasty (suí cháo 隋朝), It is a single segmental stone arch, composed of 28 individual arches bonded transversely, 37.02m in span and rising 7.23m above the chord line. Narrower in the upper part and wider in the lower, the bridge averages 9m in width. The main arch ring is 1.03m thick with protective arch stones on it. Each of its spandrels is perforated by two small arches, 3.8m and 2.85m respectively in clear span, so that flood water can be drained and the bridge weight is lightened as well. The Anji Bridge has a segmental deck and the parapets are engraved with dragons and other animals. Its construction started in A.D. 595 and was completed in A.D. 605. Up to now it has survived for 1387 years.

    Guangzi Bridge (guǎng jì qiáo 廣濟橋):
    Guangzi Bridge (literally Great Charity Bridge), also known as Siangze Bridge (xiāng zǐ qiáo 湘子橋) is situated at east urban Chaozhou (cháo zhōu 潮州), China. The Hang River (hán jiāng 韓江) has been crossed by the Guangzi Bridge for over 800 years. The old bridge was the first opening bridge in the world.
    The Guangzi was originally a boat bridge built in 1170 AD in Southern Song Dynasty (nán sòng 南宋) with the length of 518 metres (1,700 ft). Later construction of piers and framework started from both banks of the river on which it was moored, and a full 200 years later the Guangzi Bridge, a floating section of 18 supporting wooden boats in between two beamed sections, was completed. When necessary the floating section can be disconnected for the passage of big boats, an innovation that set a precedent in bridge-building history. There are two iron cows standing at both ends of the bridge, in the hope of protecting the bridge from the flood damage. A feature that makes the bridge particularly outstanding is that its two beamed sections resemble waterside streets with 24 different styles' pavilions and towers on the 24 piers for doing business, which become a special view on the bridge.

    ?guangzi bridge
    ?lugou bridge
    Guangzi Bridge (guǎng jì qiáo 廣濟橋)
    Lugou Bridge (lú gōu qiáo 盧溝橋)

    Lugou Bridge (lú gōu qiáo 盧溝橋):
    The Lugou Bridge across the Youngding River (yǒng dìng hé 永定河) is located at Wanping County (wǎn píng xiàn 宛平縣), 15 kilometers away from Guang'anmen (guǎng ān mén 廣安門), Beijing. The project began in A.D. 1188 and was completed in A. D. 1192 of the Jin Dynasty (jīn cháo 金朝). 212.2 meters long, 9.3 meters wide, it has 11 semicircular arches, ranging from 11.4 meters to 13.45 meters in span. The piers are from 6.5 meters to 7.9 meters wide; their pointed cutwaters upstream are inlaid with triangular iron bars, while the downstream sides are square in shape but without two angles. The parapets are divided into 269 sections with columns in-between, each column crowned with a carved lion.
    When the bridge was first erected in the Jin Dynasty, all the lions were alike and very simple, but through the ages they were replaced each time by better ones, more delicately carved and different in style. Now, each lion has its individual posture. And more fascinating are the lion cubs. They are playing around their parents, clinging to the breast, squatting on the shoulder, nestling at the feet, or licking the face. These exquisite sculptures on the bridge and on the ornamental columns, which show the practical application of the aesthetic principle of unity and variation, have become a scene of attraction.

    Another Version:
    Jihong Bridge (jì hóng qiáo 霽虹橋):
    jihong bridgeThere is another version that the Jihong Bridge, instead of Lugou Bridge, is one of the four most famous bridges in ancient times. The Jihong Bridge at Yongping County (yǒng píng xiàn 永平縣), Yunnan Province (yún nián shěng 云南省) is the oldest and broadest bridge with the most iron chains in China today. Spanning the Lanchang River (lán cāng jiāng 瀾滄江), it is 113.4 meters long, 4.1 meters wide and 57.3 meters in clear span. The extant chain bridge was constructed in the year of 1475 and was named "Jihong Bridge". There are 16 bottom chains and a hand rail chain on each side. Every chain has 176 links, each 0.33 meters long and 3.9 kilograms in weight. The surface is paved with wooden boards for travelers' passage. The bridge is situated on the ancient road leading to India and Burma. The famous Italian traveler Marco Polo and the Ming Dynasty's (míng cháo 明朝) traveller Xu Xiake(xú xiá kè 徐霞客) as well as the Ming Dynasty's Emperor Yongli (yǒng lì huáng dì 永歷皇帝) all visited this bridge. It is also called the First Bridge in Southwest China, having rather high value for the study of the history of bridge construction in this country.

    ????? 中國古代橋梁的輝煌成就舉世矚目,曾在東西方橋梁發展史中,占有崇高的地位,為世人所公認。在歷史的長河中,中華民族建設了數以千萬計的橋梁,成為華夏文化的重要組成部分。
    ????? 中國古代橋梁不外梁、拱、索、浮等類型。yongji bridge
    ????? 梁橋是我國古代最普遍、最早出現的橋梁,古時稱作平橋。它的結構簡單,外形平直,比較容易建造。把木頭或石梁架設在溝谷河流的兩岸,就成了梁橋。
    ????? 中國的拱橋始建于東漢中后期,已有一千八百余年的歷史。它是由伸臂木石梁橋、撐架橋等逐步發展而成的。在形成和發展過程中又受墓拱、水管、城門等建筑的影響。因為拱橋的主要承重構件的外形都是曲的,所以古時常稱為曲橋。
    ????? 索橋,也稱吊橋、繩橋、懸索橋等,是用竹索或藤索、鐵索等為骨干相拼懸吊起的大橋。古書上稱為絙橋、笮橋、繩橋。多建于水流急不易做橋墩的陡岸險谷,主要建于西南地區。其做法是在兩岸建屋,屋內各設系繩的立柱和絞繩的轉柱,然后以粗繩索若干根平鋪系緊,再在繩索上橫鋪木板,有的在兩側還加一至兩根繩索作為扶欄。國外不少橋梁專家認為索橋首創于我國,指出“中國大約在3000年以前已開始建造吊橋”。
    ????? 浮橋古時稱為舟梁。它用船舟來代替橋墩,故有“浮航”、“浮桁”、“舟橋”之稱,屬于臨時性橋梁。由于浮橋架設簡便,成橋迅速,在軍事上常被應用,因此又稱“戰橋”。浮橋可說是大型橋梁的先輩。它是用船渡河的一個發展,又是向建造固定式橋梁的一個過渡,成為介于船和橋之間的一種渡河工具。
    ????? 趙州橋
    ??????趙州橋又稱“安濟橋”,在河北省趙縣城南2.5公里處,它橫跨洨水南北兩岸,建于隋朝大業shiqikong bridge年間(605-616年),是著名匠師李春建造,距今已有1300多年的歷史。因橋體全部用石料建成,俗稱“大石橋”。
    ????? 洛陽橋
    ???? ?洛陽橋,原名“萬安橋”,是我國現存最早的跨海梁式大石橋,位于福建省泉州東郊的洛陽江上,是世界橋梁筏形基礎的開端,為全國重點文物保護單位。據史料記載,初建時橋長三百六十丈,寬一丈五尺,武士造像分立兩旁。造橋工程規模巨大。結構工藝技術高超,名震四海。洛陽橋的建造,是對世界橋梁科學的一大貢獻。
    ????? 廣濟橋
    ????? 廣濟橋位于廣東省潮州市古城東門外。橫跨浩瀚的韓江,居閩粵交通要津,以其“十八梭船廿四洲”的獨特風格,被著名橋梁專家茅以升譽為“世界上最早的啟閉式橋梁”。該橋集梁橋、拱橋、浮橋于一體,是我國橋梁史上的孤例。橋墩上建有形式各異的廿四對亭臺樓閣,兼作經商店鋪,故有“廿四樓臺廿四樣”、“一里長橋一里市”之美稱。
    ????? 盧溝橋
    ????? 盧溝橋亦作蘆溝橋,在北京市西南約15公里豐臺區永定河上,是北京市現存最古老的石造聯拱橋。永定河舊稱盧溝河,橋亦以盧溝命名。始建于金大定二十九年(1189年),明正統九年(1444年)重修。清康熙時毀于洪水,康熙三十七年(1698年)重建,如今永定河上已經沒有水了。盧溝橋全長267米,寬7.6米,最寬處可達9.5米。有橋墩十座,共11孔,整個橋體都是石結xihu bridge構,關鍵部位均有銀錠鐵榫連接,為華北最長的古代石橋。天下名橋各擅勝場,而盧溝橋卻以高超的建橋技術和精美的石獅雕刻獨標風韻,譽滿中外,實屬古今世界上一大奇觀。
    ????? 霽虹橋(四大名橋中的另一說法)
    ????? 在距保山市50公里的瀾滄江畔,在古老的埔南古道蘭津渡口上,有一座明成化十一年(公元1475年)修建的霽虹鐵索橋。此橋用鐵鏈連接,其長約106米,寬3.5米,高20多米,跨徑為60米,所用鐵鏈15根,絞鏈176扣,鐵鏈環扣每扣長一市尺,重七八市斤。橋面鋪墊橫直兩層木板通行。經有關專家考證,霽虹橋是世界上最古老的鐵索橋。在古代,此橋是“蜀身毒道”的要沖,是我國與緬甸、印度乃至西亞交流的重要通道。


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