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Zhaozhou Bridge, an ancient Chinese Miracle

Zhaozhou Bridge which is located in the famous historical and cultural county of Zhao, Hebei Province, it is the world’s oldest single-arch stone bridge still in use today, it has a history of over 1400 years and won the reputation of “ One of the Four Treasures in northern China”. It’s the oldest and best preserved ancient stone arch bridge in the world. It was included as the first batch of national key cultural relics protection units by the State Council in 1964. In 1991, it was elected by the American society of civil engineers as “the 12th international civil engineering historical monuments ", and give it a memorial brand. It was designated by the state as provincial education base for patriotism in 1999.

It was designed and built by Li Chun in the Sui Dynasty (581-618), has stood the tests of earthquake, floods, and traffic for nearly 1400 years, to protect this monument, a parallel bridge was constructed in 1980’s. Zhaozhou Bridge is a single arch stone bridge and has a span of 37.35 meters and the total length is 50.84 meters. The tow minor arches at each end are known as “the Open Spandrel Arches”, spanning 3.81 meters and 2.85 meters respectively. They not only improve the general look of the bridge but also help reducing its weight and thus lighten the load on the bridge’s foundation. In times of flood, the minor arches join the main one to facilitate the passage of the current, thus weakening the impact on the body of the bridge itself, It was the initiation in the history of the bridge’s construction in the world. This bridge has universally acknowledged as a model in the world history of stone arch bridges with its delicate technology, scientific design and beautiful structure.

For thousands of years, it was linked with a traditional Chinese legendary story of the Eight Immortals, whenever you setting your feet on the bridge you could find out some trails of the immortals. After the founding of new China, the government has renovated the bridge for several times, and it became the tourist destination ever since.