Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images
Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

11 Stunning Bridges From Around the World

Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images
Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

For much of the world, bridges are necessary for transportation. But these 11 structures are far more than functional—they're awe-inspiring works of art from end to end.

1. PONTE VECCHIO // FLORENCE, ITALY

Its name translates simply to "Old Bridge," but don’t let that discount its inarguable beauty. Positioned at the narrowest point of the Arno River, the bridge's history reaches back as far as Roman rule. A massive flood spurred an all-stone rebuild in 1345. The bridge faced further floods and invading World War II forces, yet held strong. But one of its greatest assets is the line of shops that have long sat atop it. In the 13th century, everything from butcher shops to tanners and fishmongers filled the Ponte Vecchio. Their stinky waste polluted the river and fouled the air, so in 1593, Ferdinand defended the beauty of the bridge by only allowing goldsmiths and jewelers to set up shop there. Today, it's a popular tourist attraction, though perhaps best viewed at night when the lit windows from its shops give off gorgeous glow.

2. PONT DU GARD // REMOULINS, FRANCE


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Construction on this three-tiered bridge aqueduct was completed roughly 2000 years ago. Designed to carry water from Nîmes over Gardon River, Pont du Gard was a model of function and design. Over the centuries, its waterways were clogged with debris, and so its aqueduct use was abandoned, though it thrived as a pedestrian walk for centuries. Today, this wondrous ruin measuring 902 feet long by 164 feet high is “the highest Roman construction in the world” and one of France's most popular tourist attractions, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

3. CHENGYANG WIND AND RAIN BRIDGE // GUANGXI, CHINA


AnjaDisseldorp, Flickr // CC BY-SA-2.0

Part bridge, part veranda, part Chinese pavilion, this radiant construction speaks to the heritage of the Dong people who created it. "Wind and rain bridges" are built with coverage to shield travelers from the heavy precipitation common here from May to August. This particular bridge dates back to 1916, and is built with stone and wood but without nails or rivets. Instead, this extraordinary structure employs dovetailed pieces of wood, which have held strong for 100 years and counting. Aside from its own grandeur, Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge offers views of the village, the Linxi River, and the tea trees that cover its hills.

4. MILLAU VIADUCT // MILLAU, FRANCE

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Stretching 1125 feet high, this 2004 structure has earned the title of world's tallest vehicular bridge. The steel structure’s central pillar outreaches the Eiffel Tower. Its 1½ miles of lanes extend over the clouds that linger in the scenic Tarn Valley, giving drivers a uniquely thrilling sensation. The Millau Bridge cost a whopping $524 million to build in just three years, but was instantly embraced by the French nation. President Jacques Chirac appeared at its grand opening, and proudly declared it a "marvel of art and architecture." 

5. TOWER BRIDGE // LONDON

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One of London's most recognizable landmarks, the suspension bridge is striking not only in its Victorian architecture, but also its bascule element, which allows the center to divide and lift to usher passing ships through the River Thames. After eight years of work from 432 workers, the towering tribute to English diligence was completed in 1894. Since then, Tower Bridge has seen England's capital through two World Wars as well as grand celebrations like the Queen's Silver Jubilee, where its brown exterior was painted red, white, and blue. Today the towers on the bridge contain a popular exhibition, where tourists can explores its history, step inside its engine rooms, and even see the city from up high through its glass floor.

6. HENDERSON WAVES // SINGAPORE

Schristiavia, Flickr // CC BY SA-2.0

Connecting Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park, this undulating bridge is the highest pedestrian passage in Singapore, measuring 118 feet tall. Henderson Waves is built from Southeast Asian Balau wood arranged on arched ribs of steel to achieve the curvy shape for which it's named. Completed in 2008, it also boasts cozy alcoves in its curves that have made it a popular weekend spot for couple and families. And at night, LED lamps give the bridge a surreal glow, making it prime time for snapshots.

7. BRIDGE OF SIGHS // VENICE, ITALY

Adam Smok, Flickr // CC BY-SA-2.0

Known as “The City of Bridges,” Venice has many beauties to boast, but this white limestone stunner that passes over the Rio di Palazzo is a true standout. The elegant passageway was constructed in 1600 to connect the courtrooms of the Doge's Palace and prisons, hence the barred windows. It's actually these windows which local legend claims inspired the name. Looking at their obstructed views, convicted men were said to let out a heavy sigh as they prepared to leave freedom behind in exchange for shackles. But a positive spin on the legend claims that lovers who kiss as their gondola passes under the Bridge of Sighs will be rewarded with love eternal.  

8. THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE // SAN FRANCISCO

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The strong winds and thick fog off the Pacific Ocean made building this 4200-foot long bridge a true challenge for its workers. During the four-year process (1933-1937), 19 men joined the "Halfway to Hell Club," meaning they'd been ripped off the site by cruel winds, but were rescued by the safety netting demanded by structural engineer Joseph Strauss. It was also in the midst of construction that consulting architect Irving F. Morrow came up with the unique burnt red-orange color of the bridge. As it was erected, he became attached to the red lead primer of its steel beams, and began to consider a warm hue that would better suit the surrounding area of San Fran skyline and Marin hills rich with foliage. "The effect of International Orange," Morrow concluded, "is as highly pleasing as it is unusual in the realm of engineering.” Today, the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the United States' most iconic landmarks.

9. MAGDEBURG WATER BRIDGE // BERLIN

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Now known as the world's longest navigable aqueduct, this water bridge took nearly a century to be realized. Because of the low levels of the Elbe that flows underneath, plans for the Magdeburg Water Bridge began in the early 20th century. But World War II halted progress indefinitely, and the rise of East Germany meant the plan's utter abandonment. However, German reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 renewed interest in this could-be bridge. Construction of the 3011-foot long water bridge lasted from 1997 to 2003 and cost 500 million euros. Along with its recordbreaking waterway, the bridge offers a generous footpath on either side that allows for breathtaking views.     

10. SI-O-SE POL // ISFAHAN, IRAN

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Built over the Zayandeh River from 1599 to 1602, this Safavid structure was originally known as the Bridge of Allahverdi Khan, after the general who commanded its construction. But as centuries passed, a new nickname arose speaking directly to its distinctive look: "The Bridge of 33 Arches." Within its 45-foot wide expanse, there's a narrow road built for carts modified for cars, and footpaths for pedestrians. Its interior walls are decorated by ceramic tiles, and once held erotic murals. But the latter have been lost to the centuries. Today, visitors are encouraged to come by Si-o-se Pol at night, when the lights make it an inviting spectacle against the dark sky.  

11. BANPO BRIDGE // SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

travel oriented, Flickr // CC BY-SA-2.0

The first double-deck bridge erected in the nation makes this list thanks to a 2008 "Moonlight Rainbow" makeover. Originally built between 1980 and 1982, the Banpo Bridge became a sensation when a fountain equipped with 380 nozzles and 10,000 LED lights was added to its exterior. The lights change color, creating a rippling rainbow effect that's timed to 100 different pieces of music. Not only has this made the bridge a popular tourist attraction at night, but also a Guinness World Record holder for longest bridge fountain, measuring in at a whopping 3740 feet and 1 inch! Even more impressive, the local government made sure the water was recycled from the Han River it hangs over, meaning this tourist attraction is environmentally sound. 

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
The 10 Wildest Movie Plot Twists
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

An ending often makes or breaks a movie. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having the rug pulled out from under you, particularly in a thriller. But too many flicks that try to shock can’t stick the landing—they’re outlandish and illogical, or signal where the plot is headed. Not all of these films are entirely successful, but they have one important attribute in common: From the classic to the cultishly beloved, they involve hard-to-predict twists that really do blow viewers’ minds, then linger there for days, if not life. (Warning: Massive spoilers below.)

1. PSYCHO (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock often constructed his movies like neat games that manipulated the audience. The Master of Suspense delved headfirst into horror with Psycho, which follows a secretary (Janet Leigh) who sneaks off with $40,000 and hides in a motel. The ensuing jolt depends on Leigh’s fame at the time: No one expected the ostensible star and protagonist to die in a gory (for the time) shower butchering only a third of the way into the running time. Hitchcock outdid that feat with the last-act revelation that Anthony Perkins’s supremely creepy Norman Bates is embodying his dead mother.

2. PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

No, not the botched Tim Burton remake that tweaked the original movie’s famous reveal in a way that left everyone scratching their heads. The Charlton Heston-starring sci-fi gem continues to stupefy anyone who comes into its orbit. Heston, of course, plays an astronaut who travels to a strange land where advanced apes lord over human slaves. It becomes clear once he finds the decrepit remains of the Statue of Liberty that he’s in fact on a future Earth. The anti-violence message, especially during the political tumult of 1968, shook people up as much as the time warp.

3. DEEP RED (1975)

It’s not rare for a horror movie to flip the script when it comes to unmasking its killer, but it’s much rarer that such a film causes a viewer to question their own perception of the world around them. Such is the case for Deep Red, Italian director Dario Argento’s (Suspiria) slasher masterpiece. A pianist living in Rome (David Hemmings) comes upon the murder of a woman in her apartment and teams up with a female reporter to find the person responsible. Argento’s whodunit is filled to the brim with gorgeous photography, ghastly sights, and delirious twists. But best of all is the final sequence, in which the pianist retraces his steps to discover that the killer had been hiding in plain sight all along. Rewind to the beginning and you’ll discover that you caught an unknowing glimpse, too.

4. SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)

Sleepaway Camp is notorious among horror fans for a number of reasons: the bizarre, stilted acting and dialogue; hilariously amateurish special effects; and ‘80s-to-their-core fashions. But it’s best known for the mind-bending ending, which—full disclosure—reads as possibly transphobic today, though it’s really hard to say what writer-director Robert Hiltzik had in mind. Years after a boating accident that leaves one of two siblings dead, Angela is raised by her aunt and sent to a summer camp with her cousin, where a killer wreaks havoc. In the lurid climax, we see that moody Angela is not only the murderer—she’s actually a boy. Her aunt, who always wanted a daughter, raised her as if she were her late brother. The final animalistic shot prompts as many gasps as cackles.

5. THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)

The Usual Suspects has left everyone who watches it breathless by the time they get to the fakeout conclusion. Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a criminal with cerebral palsy, regales an interrogator in the stories of his exploits with a band of fellow crooks, seen in flashback. Hovering over this is the mysterious villainous figure Keyser Söze. It’s not until Verbal leaves and jumps into a car that customs agent David Kujan realizes that the man fabricated details, tricking the law and the viewer into his fake reality, and is in fact the fabled Söze.

6. PRIMAL FEAR (1996)

No courtroom movie can surpass Primal Fear’s discombobulating effect. Richard Gere’s defense attorney becomes strongly convinced that his altar boy client Aaron (Edward Norton) didn’t commit the murder of an archbishop with which he’s charged. The meek, stuttering Aaron has sudden violent outbursts in which he becomes "Roy" and is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, leading to a not guilty ruling. Gere’s lawyer visits Aaron about the news, and as he’s leaving, a wonderfully maniacal Norton reveals that he faked the multiple personalities.

7. FIGHT CLUB (1999)

Edward Norton is no stranger to taking on extremely disparate personalities in his roles, from Primal Fear to American History X. The unassuming actor can quickly turn vicious, which led to ideal casting for Fight Club, director David Fincher’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel. Fincher cleverly keeps the audience in the dark about the connections between Norton’s timid, unnamed narrator and Brad Pitt’s hunky, aggressive Tyler Durden. After the two start the titular bruising group, the plot significantly increases the stakes, with the club turning into a sort of anarchist terrorist organization. The narrator eventually comes to grips with the fact that he is Tyler and has caused all the destruction around him.

8. THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Early in his career, M. Night Shyamalan was frequently (perhaps a little too frequently) compared to Hitchcock for his ability to ratchet up tension while misdirecting his audience. He hasn’t always earned stellar reviews since, but The Sixth Sense remains deservedly legendary for its final twist. At the end of the ghost story, in which little Haley Joel Osment can see dead people, it turns out that the psychologist (Bruce Willis) who’s been working with the boy is no longer living himself, the result of a gunshot wound witnessed in the opening sequence.

9. THE OTHERS (2001)

The Sixth Sense’s climax was spooky, but not nearly as unnerving as Nicole Kidman’s similarly themed ghost movie The Others, released just a couple years later. Kidman gives a superb performance in the elegantly styled film from the Spanish writer-director Alejandro Amenábar, playing a mother in a country house after World War II protecting her photosensitive children from light and, eventually, dead spirits occupying the place. Only by the end does it become clear that she’s in denial about the fact that she’s a ghost, having killed her children in a psychotic break before committing suicide. It’s a bleak capper to a genuinely haunting yarn.

10. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)

David Lynch’s surrealist movies may follow dream logic, but that doesn’t mean their plots can’t be readily discerned. Mulholland Drive is his most striking work precisely because, in spite of its more wacko moments, it adds up to a coherent, tragic story. The mystery starts innocently enough with the dark-haired Rita (Laura Elena Harring) waking up with amnesia from a car accident in Los Angeles and piecing together her identity alongside the plucky aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts). It takes a blue box to unlock the secret that Betty is in fact Diane, who is in love with and envious of Camilla (also played by Harring) and has concocted a fantasy version of their lives. The real Diane arranges for Camilla to be killed, leading to her intense guilt and suicide. Only Lynch can go from Nancy Drew to nihilism so swiftly and deftly.

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Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC

At its best, San Diego Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.

1. MAN IN HARRY POTTER T-SHIRT STABS ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE—WITH A PEN

In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.

2. MEMORABILIA THIEVES INVADE NEW YORK

Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’s Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."

3. CATWOMAN SAVES THE DAY


John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”

4. MAN POSES AS FUGITIVE-SEEKING INVESTIGATOR TO GET INTO VIP ROOM

The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of 2016 and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Just a few months later, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. MAN WALKS 645 MILES TO COMIC-CON, DRESSED AS A STORMTROOPER, TO HONOR HIS LATE WIFE


Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

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