Charles Bridge of Prague in Czech Republic and the Golden Gate Bridge in United States are two of the most renowned bridges of the world. Both of these bridges exhibit few similarities and few differences in its physical form, location, types of users, frequency and purpose of use, and materials. This paper will elucidates and compare these similarities and differences. Not only these bridges have a sheer economic significance but they have great cultural impact, as well. Both were made for the same notion of connecting communities (Brook & Cornish, 1992). Charles Bridge was made a century ago, while Golden Gate Bridge, which is few decades old and thus a build environment of contemporary times (Frampton, 1992). Charles Bridge was build to connect the internal part of the city, while Golden Gate Bridge was build to connect the city with the rest of the country. Charles Bridge represents an architecture that is supported by towers, while Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge. Both bridges have a significant value to their countries, and they have become the cultural icons of the world (Kohout, 1999).
The bridge rests on 16 individual arches, which helps cross the river. In the year 1402, the construction of the bridge completed and became the sole connector that linked two riversides. As of 1683, there were no statues in the Charles Bridge but in the 17th Century, the statue of St. John Nepomuk was added across the bridge. During the same period, a wooden cross, placed in the centre of the bridge was replaced by a bronze crucifix (Cha, 2004). Due to the positive reception of the first statue and its subsequent popularity, more statues were added in 18th Century. The overall statue count by that time was more than 20 and gradually more were added as time passed. The last installed statue was in the year 1938, which makes 30 statues that adorn the Charles Bridge today (Burton, 2003).
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge that is hung on both sides from two cables that pass through the main tower, and it is fixed at both ends. 27,572 strands of wires makes each cable of the bridge (Nadler & Gerstein, 1992). There are around 1.2 million rivets in the bridge and 80 thousand miles of wires. The bridge stands above 220 feet from the water level while its towers are 746 feet from the water level (Fandel, 2007). Until the formation of suspension bridges in Japan and Denmark, Golden Gate Bridge was world’s tallest suspension bridge. For enhancing bridge’s visibility in fog and to compliment it with natural surroundings, International Orange colour was used for the sealant of the bridge. For air-quality reasons, acrylic topcoats have been used since 1990 (Benesch & Schmidt, 2005).
Charles Bridge is located in Prague, which is the capital and largest city of Czech Republic. This bridge connects Prague Castle to the old towns of the city and its adjacent areas. This bridge replaced an older wooden structure. This bridge was destroyed in 1342 due to Vltava river flood. In the year 1357, an order was passed to build a new bridge at the same place as Judith Bridge (Neubert & Koř, 1991). Lesser Town Bridge Towers and Old Town Bridge Tower are the two towers which mark the entrance to Charles Bridge. It is located above the Vltava River and remained a major historic crossing above it.
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge is located between San Francisco and Marin County. The place where this bridge stands now has gone under immense transformation throughout the passage of time. From the journey of fairies that connected San Francisco to the wonderful architecture of Golden Gate Bridge, this place has gone through many changes. This location was much clogged by ferry that provided a link between San Francisco and Marin County. Southern Pacific Railroad launched Golden Gate Ferry Company that was very successful and profitable business at that time (Goren, 1985). The average time from one place to other took around 20 minutes and the price to access it was around $1, which was further reduced due to competition.
Types of Users
This bridge is normally crowded with tourists, food & souvenir vendors, and people willing to go other sides of the city. Today, a huge number of tourists visit this place to recollect the moments from the history. Each statue and each structure of this place has a vast background associated with it (Claverie & Kubova, 2002). As most of these statues are artificial, the original statues are placed in a nearby national museum. Filmmakers from around the world use this place as the central locations for shooting (Pavitt, 2000).
Golden Gate Bridge
As Charles Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge is also accessed by tourists but major chunk of users are the one who comes in San Francisco by road. As of now, most of the people who come in San Francisco, having Golden Gate Bridge in the travelling itinerary is a must thing due to its elegant architecture. Its excellent design and the overall look make it the most photographed location of the world. It is also a centre of attraction for film and documentary makers from different parts of the world (Upton, 1998).
According to statistics, around 4.1 million visitors annually visit the Charles Bridge from around the world (Brown, 2005). It includes the domestic tourist and the international tourists.
Golden Gate Bridge
According to statistics, around 9 million people from all around the world visit Golden Gate Bridge annually. This count comprises of local and international tourists (Schwarzer, 2007).
Purpose of Use
Throughout history, the Charles Bridge remained the central thoroughfare in the locality and even there was once tram service on the bridge (Wood, 1995). However, in the year 1950, things transformed and the Charles Bridge was pedestrianized. Now a day the bridge is normally crowded by street vendors and tourists. Thousands of people from around the visit this place every year. This place has also become a cultural icon and unique recognition of Czech Republic. Its location above the Vltava River makes it a major historic crossing that links Prague Castle to the old towns of the city and its adjacent areas (Stevenson, 1997). It has become a cultural representation of Czech Republic and these elements of its architecture are also used in myriad other forms to represent the unique culture of Czech Republic (Schwarzenberg, 1994).
Golden Gate Bridge
Its major purpose is to connect San Francisco to the rest of United States. It is a major link between Marin County and San Francisco (Collins, 1998). San Francisco was a major city and its growth was of immense importance to the national economy, but its link with the communities around the bay was entirely depended on ferryboats. Seeing this opportunity, there were many ferry companies that provided a link between San Francisco and adjacent areas. Due to these ferries, the river became clogged and thus the need for a bridge was created (Pearcy, 2006).
Major material used for the Charles Bridge is Bohemian sandstone. According to legends, Charles IV ordered that the egg shells should also be used in the bridge material to give it more hardness (Soukup, 2003). Although, this has not been yet proved scientifically, but it still remains a widespread belief. The bridge is guarded by entrance gates. Both the ends of the bridge are equipped with bridge towers that include one Old Town Bridge Tower and two Lesser Quarter Bridge Tower. These towers are made up of steel and bohemian sandstone (Dittrich & Wranik, 2012) .
Golden Gate Bridge
The entire structure of the Golden Gate Bridge has suspension bridges that have two central pillars. It supports the entire bridge and the cables that arise from the pillar helps support the entire roadway weight. Each side of the stack’s weight is offset by the other sides and as a consequence the structure is balanced. Above the water level, the two towers of 227 meters are suspended. Rompenieblas lights are placed above the towers to warn aircraft and ships about the presence of the bridge. Each of the two main cables that hung between two large towers weights 11,000 tons (Colquhoun, 2002). They are anchored externally and formed by 25,000 individual wires. Compression to the towers and mooring of the bridge are also provided by the street suspended cables other than supporting the structure (Curtis, 1996).
Lead-based topcoat and red lead primer were the main materials through which the bridge was painted. To improve the rust resistant quality, the program was launched in mid 1960s. The original paint was then stripped, and the bridge was repainted with vinyl topcoats and zinc silicate primer. Acrylic topcoats have also been used for reasons related to air quality (Wells, 2002).
Differences between Charles Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge in its physical form, location, types of users, frequency and purpose of use and materials are due to the difference in the environment around the bridge and the technology during their construction. Charles Bridge rested on 16 individual arches. There were no statues in the Charles Bridge but gradually more than 40 statues have been added as of now. Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge that is hung on both sides from two cables that pass through the main tower, and it is fixed at both ends. Charles Bridge connects Prague Castle to the old towns of the city and its adjacent areas. This bridge replaced an older wooden structure. Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco to the entire United States. Charles Bridge Bridge is normally crowded with tourists, food and souvenir vendors, and people willing to go other sides of the city. Today, a huge number of tourists visit this place to recollect the moments from the history.
As Charles Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge is also accessed by tourists but major chunk of users are the one who comes in San Francisco by road. Annually, around 4.1 million visitors visit the Charles Bridge and around 9 million people from all around the world visit Golden Gate Bridge. Major purpose of Golden Gate Bridge is to connect San Francisco to Marin County. Major material used for the Charles Bridge is Bohemian sandstone. According to legends, Charles IV ordered that the egg shells should also be used in the bridge material to give it more hardness. The entire structure of the Golden Gate Bridge has suspension bridges that have two central pillars. It supports the entire bridge and the cables that arise from the pillars help support the entire roadway weight. Lead-based topcoat and red lead primer were the main materials through which the bridge was painted.
Benesch, K., & Schmidt, K. (2005). Space in America theory, history, culture. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Brook, S., & Cornish, J. (1992). Philip's Prague: architecture, history, art. London: George Philip.
Brown, D. J. (2005). Bridges: three thousand years of defying nature. Richmond Hill, Ont.: Firefly Books.
Burton, R. D. (2003). Prague: a cultural and literary history. New York: Interlink Books.
Cha, R. (2004). Czech architecture and its austerity: fifty buildings 1989-2004. Praha: Prostor.
Charles Bridge [JPEG]. (2012).
Retrived from http://www.pragueexperience.com/places.asp?PlaceID=598
Claverie, J., & Kubova, A. (2002). Prague. Paris, France: Terrail.
Collins, P. (1998). Changing ideals in modern architecture, 1750-1950. Montreal, Que.: McGill-Queen's University Press.
Colquhoun, A. (2002). Modern architecture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Curtis, W. J. (1996). Modern architecture since 1900 (3rd ed.). London: Phaidon.
Dittrich, G., & Wranik, M. (2012). Prague (2nd ed.). London: Phaidon Press Limited ;.
Fandel, J. (2007). Golden Gate Bridge. Mankato, Minn.: Creative Education.
Frampton, K. (1992). Modern architecture: a critical history (3rd ed.). London: Thames and Hudson.
Goren, C. H. (1985). Goren's new bridge complete. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.
Greenspun, P. (2006). Golden Gate Bridge [JPEG].
Retrived from http://philip.greenspun.com/images/200606-california-helicopter-trip/golden-gate-bridge-aerial-6.tcl
Kohout, M. (1999). Prague: 20th century architecture. Praha: Zlaty
Neubert, K., & Kořán, I. (1991). Charles Bridge. Prague: Gallery of the City of Prague
Pavitt, J. (2000). Prague. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Pearcy, T. L. (2006). The history of Central America. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
Schwarzenberg, K. (1994). The Prague Castle and its treasures. New York: Vendome Press :.
Schwarzer, M. (2007). San Francisco: architecture of the San Francisco Bay area : a history & guide. San Francisco, CA: William Stout Publishers.
Soukup, V. (2003). Prague (New ed.). New York: DK Pub..
Stevenson, N. (1997). Architecture. New York: DK Pub..
Upton, D. (1998). Architecture in the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wells, M. (2002). 30 bridges. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications.
Wood, R. (1995). Architecture. New York: Thomson Learning.