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Zhaozhou Bridge

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  • Zhaozhou Bridge of the Sui Dynasty
    Zhaozhou Bridge of the Sui Dynasty
  • The Stone Rails on the Bridge
    The Stone Rails on the Bridge
  • Stone Plate of Stories
    Stone Plate of Stories
  • Cultural Relics on the Bridge
    Cultural Relics on the Bridge
  • The Steles near the Bridge
    The Steles near the Bridge
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Situated above the Jiao River in the south of Zhao County, Zhaozhou Bridge, the 'First Bridge under Heaven', is about 42 kilometers (26 miles) away from the downtown of Shijiazhuang City. It is the oldest and the best-preserved ancient stone arch bridge in the world, designated as being among China's foremost protected monuments by the State Council of the People's Republic of China in 1961 and identified as the selected twelfth 'historical sites of international civil engineering' by American Society of Civil Engineers in 1991. 

Zhaozhou Bridge is also known as Anji Bridge named by the Emperor Zhezong of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279). It was built in the period of Daye (605 - 618) of the Sui Dynasty (581 - 618), having a history of more than 1400 years. Built by the famous craftsman Li Chun, it is 50.82 meters (about 56 yards) long and 9.6 meters (about 11 yards) wide, with a span of 37.02 meters (about 41 yards). It is the first open-spandrel stone arch bridge in the world with the longest span.

Seen as a whole, it is a single-hole arch bridge, but it is actually composed of 28 horizontally stacked arches. Meanwhile, there are two small holes in both sides of the spandrel, known as 'open spandrel' nowadays. The application of 'open spandrel' not only made it more ethereal and beautiful, but it also increased the drainage and reduced the resistance of the water. Moreover, the special construction also saved a lot of stones, thus the weight of bridge was decreased and the stability of the bridge was increased. That is why the bridge remains intact even after experiencing a number of floods, wars and earthquakes. 

Zhaozhou Bridge was not only built with high science and technology, but it was also beautifully modeled, like a rainbow arch across the river, powerful and imposing. The rails, columns, bas-reliefs, dragons and flowers on the bridge are exquisitely carved, with rich contents and fluid lines. It is indeed an exquisite art treasure of China, showing the high technology of the stone carving in the Sui and Tang (618 - 907) dynasties. It is also a creation in the bridge construction history of the world, being on a par with the world famous Eiffel Tower and Panama Canal.

 Entrance Fee: 
CNY 35 for adults; CNY 17.5 for kids

 Opening Hours: 09:00 - 16:30

 Best Time to Visit: Sep. & Oct.

A. Take Bus No. 213 from Shijiazhuang Railway Station and get off at the last stop;
B. Take Bus No. 35 from Shijiazhuang Railway Station and get off at the last stop - South Long-distance Bus Station, and change to the Mini Bus to Zhao County and get off at Zhouzhou Bridge.

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