The Hanging Bridge

On 13 July, 2006, the World Heritage committee of UNESCO declared the Hanging Bridge a world heritage monument, making it the first World Heritage monument in the Basque Country and the fi rst World Industrial Heritage monument in Spain.

The Hanging Bridge exalts the spectacular magnificence of the estuary, and is an exceptional expression of technical creativity, reflecting the satisfactory relationship between function and form. Moreover, it is one of the most outstanding constructions of the European Industrial Revolution and one of the greatest engineering achievements of the end of the 19th century. It was the first transporter bridge to be built in the world and is one of the very few still working.

Designed in 1887 by Alberto de Palacio, it was officially opened on 28 July, 1893, and perfectly synthesises architecture and functionality, what is beautiful and useful, what is magnificent and what is ordinary and practical. The Bizkaia Bridge, popularly known as the Hanging Bridge, solved the problem of communication between both banks of the river Nervion, without interrupting the flow of the river or hindering navigation.

It comprises four metal latticework towers, 62 metres high, which hold a 160-metre deck, with a suspended gondola. This moves horizontally between both banks and is capable of transporting a dozen cars and two hundred people.

The bridge is above all a symbol, the culmination of a long cultural tradition linked to the manufacture and use of Biscayan iron, the main driving force of the development of the Basque economy, and a marvel of engineering of its time. It is an outstanding witness to the history of the river estuary, its towns and people.


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