Little Bits of History

Europe and Asia Linked

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2013
Bosphorus Bridge

Bosphorus Bridge

October 30, 1973: The Bosphorus Bridge is completed. The bridge spans the Bosphorus Strait which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. The Sea of Marmara links via the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea and from there it is connected to the Mediterranean Sea. The strait is the narrowest used for international navigation. The Bosphorus Strait is ≈ 19 miles long and at its widest measures 12,139 feet across. The minimum width is between Kandilli and Aşiyan where it is only 2,297 feet across. It separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey.

The Bosphorus Bridge was the first bridge linking Asia and Europe. The suspension bridge has a main span of 3,524 feet between the towers. Its overall length is 4,954 feet and it rises 210 feet above sea level. It was the fourth longest suspension bridge span in 1973 with the top three being in the US. The decision to build the bridge was reached in 1957. A British engineering firm designed it and construction began in February 1970.

Suspension bridges have the deck hung below suspension cables held on vertical suspenders. Towers rise up for the cables and the load bearing platform between them is the main span. Modern versions of the suspension bridges date from the 19th century. There are both advantages (the main one is the length of the main span) and disadvantages (deck stiffness chief among them) for these types of bridges.

A bridge in Wheeling, West Virginia was the first “longest span” holder with 1,010 feet between the towers. The bridge held the record from 1848 to 1867 when Cincinnati took the record. By the 20th century, the 1,600 foot bridge in Brooklyn took over. In 1931 the Manhattan George Washington Bridge opened with a span of 3,500 feet. Next on the list was the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge in 1937 with a span of 4,200 feet. New York City again took the longest span with the Verrazano Bridge in 1964 with the span measuring 4,260 feet. Today, the longest span is in Japan with 6,530 feet spanning the Akashi Strait. There are now two bridges linking Asia and Europe as a second Bosphorus Bridge opened in 1988. Traffic between the continents continues to rise and a third bridge is planned.

“Sometimes, if you aren’t sure about something, you just have to jump off the bridge and grow your wings on the way down.” – Danielle Steel

“I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it.” – Will Rogers

“It is not good to cross the bridge before you get to it.” – Judi Dench

“Narcissism and self-deception are survival mechanisms without which many of us might just jump off a bridge.” – Todd Solondz

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: A bridge is a structure built to cross an obstacle which can be water, a valley, or another road. The earliest bridges were natural in construction such as a fallen tree strategically placed for crossing a river or stones that appeared in order to cross with minimal wetness. Earliest manmade bridges were replications of this and consisted of planks spanning the area. Eventually support and crossbeam arrangements were devised. There are bridges that survive from ancient Greece and dating from the Bronze Age. However, the Romans were far more aggressive in their building plans and road systems creating a series of roads and the necessary bridges that spanned the known world. They built elegant arch bridges as well as aqueducts in which they used cement as a building material. As the Roman Empire declined and collapsed and the formula for cement was lost, brick and mortar bridges were built once again.

Also on this day: “Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Rebuilding – In 2005, the rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche was reconsecrated.
Transplant – In 1960, the first kidney transplant in the UK was performed.