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Cities of bridges - Introduction - Construction - Challenge

Oporto has often been called the 'city of bridges' and the many varied bridges make up a distinctive part of the city's riverside architecture. One of the most famous bridges is Ponte Dom Luís 1, opened in 1886, built by Théophile Seyrig, who was trained by Gustav Eiffel. The 172 metre high iron bridge which spans the River Douro, is captured in many of the photographs of the Imagem project.

Ponte Dom Luis

An older bridge, the Ponte Maria Pia was one of the first great pieces of work by Gustav Eiffel, who was responsible for the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Completed in 1877, it is double hinged arch using pillars to reinforce the structure. The railway ran over this bridge for 114 years, until 1991, when the Ponte São João replaced it.

When Oporto celebrated its status as European City of Culture in 2001, it chose 'bridges to the future' as its theme, and a new bridge, the Ponte Infante Henrique was constructed.

Bristol too is famed for its bridges, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which spans the Avon Gorge at a height of 75 metres is probably the most spectacular. It was opened in 1864 and is the creation of Victorian architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

There are many other bridges spanning the docks and waterways which make up Bristol's Harbourside, including several swing bridges which are designed so that the middle section swings out of the way to allow tall ships to pass through. Bristol Bridge is an important road bridge which links the Bristol city centre to Temple Meads Station, another Victorian edifice built by Brunel.

Two new bridges were built in Bristol to celebrate the millennium, one of which is the beautiful Valentine's Bridge connecting east Bristol to Temple Meads Station; this is a footbridge with a cycle path. The other is Pero's Bridge, with its unusual horns, which commemorates Bristol's role in the slave trade and recognises the suffering and racism involved.

Pero's Bridge

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