Bridges connect two pieces of land, but with the right design they can also connect people and cultures. They can provide insight into the values of a community and the creativity of its designers. Bridges don't just need to be practical; they can also be artistic. They can be static or movable, but their designs, if done right, can flow from one generation to the next and into architectural history.
Here are ten of the world's most unique bridges you need to see to believe.
10 10. Moses Bridge, Netherlands
The Moses Bridge lives up to its name as it parts a small moat, just as Moses parted the Red Sea. The bridge was built with this particular design in order to not disturb the appearance of the moat with a bulky bridge. Instead, the bridge was built below the waterline with waterproof wood. The bridge is only viewable if you're looking down at it--view the moat from far away and you'll never know it's there.
Don't worry, this particular moat is controlled by a dam, meaning flooding is never an issue.
9 9. Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge, Brazil
The Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge crisscrosses over Lake Paranoá with its three 200-foot tall steel arches. Looking like a triplex of metal legs flowing over the bridge and in and out of the water, the bridge is a structure that impresses all who cross it. The bridge is also accessible by pedestrians as it's complete with a walkway suitable for those traveling by foot or bicycle.
8 8. Banpo Bridge, South Korea
More than just a bridge, Banpo Bridge in Seoul also doubles as a strikingly beautiful fountain from April to October.
With pumps on either side that move more than 200 tons of water each minute, the water show created by the bridge has turned it into a tourist destination. Besides being simply beautiful, Banpo Bridge is also the longest bridge fountain in the world.
7 7. The Slauerhoffbrug, Netherlands
The Slauerhoffbrug, also known as the "Flying Drawbridge," doesn't appear unique when everything is in place, but it's easy to notice it's not quite like any other bridge when a boat approaches. The bridge, constructed with a hinge style, literally lifts a piece of the road into the air to allow small boats to pass, completing a feat that seems to defy physical explanation.
Lifting the piece of road and putting it back in place takes a grand total of three minutes, a process that is completed ten times a day.
6 6. Chengyang Bridge, China
The Chengyang Bridge is as practical as it is beautiful. Built as a "wind and rain bridge," the Chengyang Bridge incorporates five pavilions connected by covered walkways to protect visitors as they pass across the Linxi River below. The bridge was built in 1912 and used no nails, incorporating only wood connected by dovetailing that has surprisingly withstood the elements for more than 100 years.
This bridge is one example of how structures connect not only land but people as it runs between two villages of the Dong peoples.
5 5. Langkawi Sky Bridge, Malaysia
The Langkawi Sky Bridge, which hangs suspended over an expansive forest, was built with the brave in mind. Curving around Machinchang mountain, the bridge is the longest free span, curved bridge in the world and stands as a fascinating engineering endeavour. With its 410-foot (125-meter), curving pathway winding over the trees below, pedestrians using the bridge are greeted by constantly varying views of the sublime cliffs and valleys around and under them.
4 4. Khaju Bridge, Iran
There are several factors that make Khaju Bridge a fascinating structure. In addition to serving as a bridge, it is also a weir (a type of low dam) and a location for public meetings, bringing people together under the protection of its stunning tilework and paintings.
The bridge is also one of the oldest on this list, having been built in 1650 under the Persian king Shah Abbas II. Being more than 350 years old, it's truly remarkable that the bridge still stands strong and beautiful, connecting people to each other and their history.
3 3. Gateshead Millennium Bridge, England
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge, which stretches over the River Tyne, is the world's first tilting bridge. The bridge was designed considering that boats would need to pass underneath, but the designers also wanted to make the bridge easily accessible by the pedestrians and cyclists that would use it without steep inclines or stairs. These considerations resulted in the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. To open and close the bridge takes only four and a half minutes, meaning the flow of pedestrian traffic is only slightly inconvenienced.
With such an unbelievable design, it's no surprise that England has included the bridge on a stamp and a pound coin to show their pride in the structure.
2 2. Henderson Waves Bridge, Singapore
The highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, the Henderson Waves Bridge undulates high above the jungle as it connects Telok Blangah Hill Park and Mount Faber Park. It is part of a longer hiking trail that moves through three lush parks, standing as a modern fixture in the verdant nature surrounding it.
The bridge is not only a common tourist destination but a favorite spot of locals due to its many relaxing niches and beautiful design. At night, visitors can see the bridge light up under LED lights, presenting the structure in all its glory.
1 1. Heatherwick Studio's Rolling Bridge, England
While not necessarily the longest or most beautiful bridge on this list, Heatherwick Studio's Rolling Bridge is certainly the most unique. When stretched across the small inlet of Grand Union Canal, the bridge appears completely normal. However, when it needs to move, the bridge rolls it on itself until it creates a symmetrical octagon shape on one side of the inlet.
The bridge can be stopped at any point in its curl, but it is more often than not left to complete its coil, bending like a metal roly poly onto the sidewalk.