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Israelis build world’s biggest glass bridge

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ANT KATZ

The video above shows Chaim Dotan’s amazing ‘disappearing’ glass bridge which opened in China last weekend



When Israeli architect Chaim Dotan was asked to design the world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge which opened in China last weekend, he asked: “Why do you want a bridge? It’s too beautiful” he recalls telling developers.

Israel Glass bridge surrealFinally, Dotan conceded: “I told him he can build a bridge but under one condition: I want the bridge to disappear,” he explains.


RIGHT: Dotan’s disappearing bridge


Last weekend, the Israeli-designed-and-built bridge, the world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge, opened in the spectacular park in the Zhangjiajie mountains in China’s central Hunan province.

The bridge is made of 99 panels of clear glass and can carry up to 800 people at the same time. It tapers towards the centre where it is six meters wide.

Israel Glass bridge packedOne of the summits in Zhangjiajie Park from which the bridge hangs, has a claim to movie stardom as well – it inspired the floating mountain which appeared in the blockbuster film Avatar after a Hollywood photographer holidayed in the area in 2008, took images that were later used for the film.


LEFT: Crowds swarmed over the bridge when it opened last weekend. In future use will be restricted to 8,000 people daily


Last year another, much smaller glass bridge at the Yuntai mountain in Henan province developed an alarming crack in some of its glass panels – so the authorities in Zhangjiajie were understandably eager to demonstrate the safety of the Israeli structure.

To this end, they organised a string of media events, including one where people were encouraged to try and smash the bridge’s glass panels with a sledgehammer, and another where they drove a car across it. It proved indestructible.

Israeli architect Chaim Dotan also made provision for the more adventurous in his design. He included a bungee jump and a ride on a zip line.


SEE SPECTACULAR PICTURES BELOW STORY


A visitor at the opening with her family, Wang Min, told the Xinhua news agency that she had “wanted to feel awe-inspired by this bridge. But I’m not afraid — it seems safe!”

Because usage will be limited to 8,000 people a day bridge in the already-popular tourist area, those wanting to do the bridge crossing are advised to book in advance. The cost os US$28 (R380 at today’s exchange rates).

Cameras and selfie sticks are banned, and people wearing stilettos will not be allowed on the bridge. The camera ban was seemingly ignored at the opening. Visitors are also not allowed to wear stilettos.


Israel Glass bridgeGymnasts and view
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Israel Glass bridge tapers
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Israel Glass bridge bunjee

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Israel Glass bridge high
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