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Anji Bridge -
a gray rainbow drinking
from a mountain brook

(Inspiration from Tsang Tsuoshuo, a T'ang Poet of China)

The oldest extant bridge of China is a single span stone arch bridge -- Anji Bridge in Zhaoxian County of Hebei Province, built in the Sui Dynasty (581-618). Also known as the Zhaozhou Bridge with a history of about 1,400 years, it is reputed as The First Bridge Under Sky.

It is a single segmental stone arch, composed of 28 individual arches bonded transversely, 37.02m in span and rising 7.23m above the chord line. Narrower in the upper part and wider in the lower, the bridge averages 9m in width. The main arch ring is 1.03m thick with protective arch stones on it. Each of its spandrels is perforated by two small arches, 3.8m and 2.85m respectively in clear span, so that flood water can be drained and the bridge weight is lightened as well.

The Anji Bridge has a segmental deck and the parapets are engraved with dragons and other animals. Its construction started in the 15th year (595) of the reign of Kaihuang and was completed in the 1st year (605) of Daye's reign of the Sui Dynasty.

The bridge, exquisite in workmanship, unique in structure, well-proportioned and graceful in shape, and meticulous yet lively in engraving, has been regarded as one of the greatest achievements in China. Great attention and protection have been given to it through successive dynasties.

The Anji Bridge is by far the earliest and best preserved stone arch bridge in the world. In 1991, it was named among the world cultural relics of civil engineering, which indicates that the Anji Bridge is equally famous as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Panama Canal and the Pyramid in Egypt.
© 2003 Ministry of Culture, P.R.China.


The Zhaozhou Bridge (traditional Chinese: 趙州橋; simplified Chinese: 赵州桥; pinyin: Zhàozhōu Qiáo) is the world's oldest open-spandrel stone segmental arch bridge.

The intriguing design of the Zhaozhou Bridge has given rise to many legends. According to one legend, the bridge was built by a master architect named Lu Ban in a single night. In another story, the bridge was put to the test by two immortals who crossed it at the same time and Lu Ban saved it by wading into the water and supporting the structure.

Although Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) authors compared the bridge to
"a new moon rising above the clouds" and
"a long rainbow hanging on a mountain waterfall",

it later fell into obscurity. When Professor Liang Sicheng (梁思成) of Tsing Hua University rediscovered the bridge on a field exploration of ancient architecture in Hebei province, made detailed measurements, and published a report and drawing ("An Chi Ch'iao the Great Stone Bridge Chao Hsien, Hobei, Sui Dynasty AD 569-617, Li Chun Master Builder"), it became world famous.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Japanese Stone Bridges

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NHK 石橋

Yatsuhashi Bridge


.. .. .. colors moving
.. .. .. in clear waters -
.. .. .. a bridge to you

Ritsurin Park in Takamatsu, Japan


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