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This post was edited by dostoevskydr at 2016-4-18 16:50|
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. But what about structures that are still in use—their original use—to this day?
While most ancient structures have gained a second life as tourist attractions, the humble bridge has often maintained its original use throughout the ages. 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. 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.
The Romans built many things that stood the test of time. With their rigid and effective building techniques, a few important constructions built during the Roman era still stand to this day. If you’re in the mood to inspect their handiwork for yourself, simply take a trip to Rome and visit the Pons Fabricius bridge.
The bridge was built by Lucius Fabricius in 62 BC, possibly to replace a wooden bridge that had burned down. You can tell Lucius commanded its construction because he had it written on the bridge in four different spots.
After a flood in 23 BC, two consuls known as Marcus Lollius and Quintus Aemilius Lepidus added adjustments in 21 BC in order to help preserve the bridge, although it’s not stated what the improvements were exactly. It might have been the addition of the small arch on the bridge which serves the purpose of relieving pressure during high waters. That alone probably helped the bridge survive as long as it has.
Built in 1345, the Ponte Vecchio can be found in Florence, Italy. 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.
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. The bridge used to be haunted by fishmongers and butchers in the 1400s, whose crafts caused the bridge to contain a foul odor. 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. He ordained that the only people who could sell on the bridge were goldsmiths and silversmiths, which helped develop Florence’s imagery to wealthy foreign visitors.
Ponte Di Rialto
An Italian bridge was constructed in 1591 to replace a wooden one that had collapsed. It was designed by one Antonio da Ponte, who had some stiff competition to design the bridge, with rivals being Michelangelo and Palladio. Unfortunately, once it was built, it didn’t go down so well with the locals. It received both praise and scorn from critics, who slammed its design for being “top-heavy and ungraceful,” the same attention the Eiffel Tower drew after it was built.
Despite the criticism, the bridge has remained very much intact since it was built. Given it had to have a 7-meter (24 ft) arch to allow galleys below as well as enough strength to hold up the row of shops that spans its center, it had to be structurally sound. It’s so sound, in fact, that cannons were fired from it during riots in 1797.
Photo credit: Jeanne MenjBuilt in 1667 on the foundations of an older bridge, this bridge’s construction was ordered by the late Shah Abbas II. Being a bridge, its main purpose was to allow people to cross the Zayandeh River, but it also has other uses. It acts as a dam and has sluice gates, yet its most interesting use is the social aspect.
While we’re unfamiliar with a bridge being the place to be used for social hangouts, that didn’t stop Shah Abbas II from trying. Along the bridge—and still visible to this day— is an impressive array of paintings and tile work. A pavilion was constructed in the middle so that Shah Abbas II and his courtiers could look over the scenery. These days, the pavilion is a teahouse and art gallery. If that’s not enough, within the pavilion was a stone seat which the Shah Abbas used to look over the river. The seat is still around but very much a remnant of its former glory.