Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 2006
Size of heritage: 0.86 ha
- Buffer zone: 12 ha
Vizcaya Bridge straddles the mouth of the Ibaizabal estuary, west of Bilbao. It was designed by the Basque architect Alberto de Palacio and completed in 1893. The 45-m-high bridge with its span of 160 m, merges 19th-century ironworking traditions with the then new lightweight technology of twisted steel ropes. It was the first bridge in the world to carry people and traffic on a high suspended gondola and was used as a model for many similar bridges in Europe, Africa and the America only a few of which survive. With its innovative use of lightweight twisted steel cables, it is regarded as one of the outstanding architectural iron constructions of the Industrial Revolution.
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The Vizcaya Bridge, also known as the Puente Colgante, is a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Basque Country, specifically in the province of Bizkaia, Spain. This iconic bridge, which connects the towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas, is not only a functional transportation link but also a testament to the ingenuity and engineering prowess of its time.
The construction of the Vizcaya Bridge began in 1887 and was completed in 1893. It was designed by Alberto Palacio, a disciple of the renowned Gustave Eiffel, and was intended to provide a solution to the growing transportation needs of the region. The bridge was primarily built to facilitate the movement of people and goods across the Nervion River, which had previously required a time-consuming ferry journey.
At the time of its construction, the Vizcaya Bridge was a groundbreaking engineering marvel. It was the world's first transporter bridge, a unique type of bridge that combines elements of both a bridge and a ferry. The bridge consists of a gondola suspended from a high steel structure, which is propelled across the river by a system of cables and counterweights.
Today, the Vizcaya Bridge stands as a testament to its enduring engineering brilliance. It continues to serve as a vital transportation link, carrying both pedestrians and vehicles across the Nervion River. The bridge operates daily, providing a convenient and efficient means of crossing for the local population and visitors alike.
Despite its age, the Vizcaya Bridge has been meticulously maintained and remains in excellent condition. The bridge underwent a comprehensive restoration in the 1990s, ensuring its structural integrity and preserving its original features. The restoration project aimed to maintain the bridge's historical authenticity while incorporating modern safety standards.
Visitors to the Vizcaya Bridge can experience its unique functionality firsthand. The gondola, capable of carrying up to six cars and several passengers, offers breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding landscape. As it glides across the river, visitors can marvel at the engineering prowess that made this bridge a true architectural gem.
Moreover, the Vizcaya Bridge has become a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world. Its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2006 further enhanced its international recognition. The bridge's historical significance, combined with its impressive engineering design, makes it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, architecture lovers, and curious travelers.
The Vizcaya Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stands as a testament to the ingenuity and engineering brilliance of its time. Its unique transporter bridge design, combined with its historical significance, makes it a remarkable attraction in the Basque Country. As it continues to serve its transportation purpose, the Vizcaya Bridge remains a symbol of human achievement and a living testament to the power of innovative engineering.
Hotels and places to stay
NH La Avanzada
Hotel Puerta de Bilbao
Novotel Bilbao Exhibition Center
URH Palacio de Oriol
HOTEL SERCOTEL NAVAL
Gran Hotel Puente Colgante
Petit Palace Tamarises
Videos from the area
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Medium airport - 4 mi (7 km) Vitoria/Foronda Airport
Medium airport - 33 mi (54 km) Santander Airport
Medium airport - 43 mi (69 km) San Sebastian Airport
Medium airport - 60 mi (97 km) Logroño-Agoncillo Airport
Small airport - 68 mi (110 km) Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne Airport
Medium airport - 74 mi (120 km) Burgos Airport
Medium airport - 74 mi (120 km) Pamplona Airport
Medium airport - 78 mi (125 km) Bordeaux-Mérignac (BA 106) Airport
Large airport - 153 mi (247 km) Madrid Barajas International Airport
Large airport - 198 mi (319 km) Tours-Val-de-Loire Airport
Large airport - 336 mi (541 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- San Julian de Muskiz
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Erandio Goikoa - La Campa, Erandio
- Errekatxo / El Regato
- Escontrilla Alta
- Santa Ana
- Santa Maria