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The suspension bridge, invented by the Chinese in the first century AD, is still the bridge of choice when one has to span a great distance.
Rope made from bamboo, itself a form of grass, was used to hang the Anlan suspension bridge in China, first constructed about A.D. 300. The bridge spans the 1,000-foot wide Min River, using piers that support eight sections of cable to do so.
People have walked across the Anlan Bridge for 1,700 years.
Until steel cables were used in 1975, the Anlan suspension ropes were made of shredded bamboo twisted into cables, like hemp ropes are. The Chinese also used bamboo-cabled suspension bridges to cross fast-flowing rivers and deep ravines throughout their history. Later, the Chinese built iron-chained suspension bridges—long before the West used this method.
The Anlan Suspension Bridge crosses the Minjiang River bestriding the water of the Inner Canal and Outer Canal to connect Erwang Temple with the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. Anlan Suspension Bridge has been around since ancient times, when it was known as Zhupu Bridge. During the Song Dynasty, it was rebuilt and called Pingshi Bridge. Pingshi Bridge was destroyed in the war at the end of Ming Dynasty.
A new bridge was built to replace it during the eighth year of Jiaqing Reign, during the Qing Dynasty (1803). The person who proposed rebuilding the bridge was He Xiande and his wife. Since then, it was called Anlan Bridge, meaning "couple" or "husband-and-wife" bridge, in reference to the couple who proposed it.
Anlan Bridge is 261 meters long. It is supported by wooden pegs and stone piers. The bridge crosses the river by using bamboo ropes. The bridge is secured by bamboo ropes on two sides, in length of which are about 500 meters each. When the bridge was restored, steel ropes were used instead of bamboo ropes. The wooden pegs which supported the cable were changed to ferroconcrete pegs, and the length of the bridge become 240 meters.
Seen from the distance, the Anlan Bridge is like the rainbow in the sky. Crossing the bridge, you can see the Minjiang water roaring towards in the west and irrigation channels crossing each other in the east. The general picture and functions of Dujiangyan irrigation system are all clear at a glance.
Anlan Suspension Bridge, on the slopes of Mount Yulei in Dujiangyan:
[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-23 12:48 PM ]