The Highest, Longest Glass Bridge on Earth Opens in China
This newly opened walking bridge in southeastern China wasn’t designed for a relaxing stroll. The structure spans 1400 feet across Hunan province's Zhangjiajie Forest Park and includes a glass floor that offers thrilling views of the 980-foot drop below. According to Smithsonian, it's the highest and longest bridge of its kind in the world.
Israeli architect Haim Dotan intended to build a bridge that wouldn’t interfere with the beauty of the surrounding landscape. “The Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge was designed to be invisible as possible—a white bridge disappearing into the clouds,” he said in a statement. It spans Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, one of China’s most stunning natural wonders. Its unique scenery even helped inspire the setting of Avatar (2009).
For a fee of $20, visitors can now view the park from a one-of-a-kind perspective. Before the grand opening in August, the bridge underwent rigorous tests—and one publicity stunt. This past June, 20 people wielding sledgehammers were set loose on the structure, cracking the top layer of glass in places. Then a 2-ton Volvo SUV packed with 11 passengers was sent across the bridge to demonstrate its safety.
The 99 panes of triple-layered glass composing the bridge are capable of supporting 800 people at once. In the future, the attraction is expected to include three dangling swings and what could potentially be the highest bungee jump on the planet. At least one activity has been deemed too risky for visitors to partake in—wearing stilettos.
All images courtesy Fred Dufour/Getty
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