Zhaozhou Bridge, also called Anji Bridge and Dashi Bridge (Great Stone Bridge), is a key cultural relic under national protection.
The bridge, built during the last years of Kaihuang's reign in the Sui Dynasty, has a history of 1400 years. It was built by Lichun, an outstanding craftsman, and his fellow workers. It measures 64.4 meters long and 9.6 meters wide. It has a main arch and 4 small additional arches on both sides. The addition of these 4 small arches not only reduces the weight of the bridge, but also helps decrease the force of floodwaters. The bridge is well-designed and elegant, with guardrails and posts covered in beautiful carvings.
Zhaozhou Bridge embodies a combination of craftsmanship and art and has attracted many men of letter from different eras here to praise the bridge’s beauty. One line of a poem reads, "Thousands of horses, carriages and people cross the bridge and it is truly the first bridge under heaven." The inscription text entitled An Introduction to the Stone Bridge written by the minister Zhang Jiazhen in the Tang Dynasty highlights its historic value.
In October 1991, Zhaozhou Bridge was chosen as one of the 12 milestones in the history of civil engineering by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
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I updated this article on December 19, 2012
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