Zhaozhou Bridge, Zhaoxian, Hebei
(September 2, 2012)

(1) The bridge in Zhaoxian is famous for being the "world's oldest open-spandrel stone segmental arch bridge"--whatever that means. I wanted to see it because it features in Zhaozhou's teachings.

Alas, when I got there, I discovered the bridge had been enclosed in a "scenic area," which is secret code for "tourist trap." Sure enough, admission was set at 40rmb, nearly $6US. Sometimes I get stubborn, and this was one of those times: I refused to pay, and tried to get a view of the bridge without going in.

(2) The tourists' gate

(3) The VIP (vehicular) gate

(4) Some of the gardens, shot through a "window" in the wall. As pleasant as it looked, I was in no mood to be screwed, so I continued looking for another means of viewing the bridge--without paying.

(5) Walking around the outside, I discovered that the view had been obscured by this newly-installed pedestrian bridge. Clever.

(6) See the red ribbon? It's on the stone bridge.

(7) I began to creep down alleyways...

(8) ...until I found this gap in a wall. You can just see the bridge through the trees in the left background. Really bad pop music was booming from speakers around the bridge, so I had to work fast before my brain melted.

(9) With my telephoto, between the trees

(10) Close-up on one of those all-important "open spandrels"

(11) I was disappointed, yes, but it makes for a good story. And it could be worse: these bricks are piled near the gap, and I suspect it will soon be closed.

On a trip in 2006 Bill Porter claims to have driven across the bridge; how quickly things change in China--now you can't even look without paying.

It's just a bridge, after all.

    ← Previous Site Back to Trip 19 Introduction Next Site →    

Last Updated August 21, 2019

No comments:

Post a Comment