The Wan’an bridge also named Luoyang Bridge
Luoyang Bridg is located in Quanzhou, Fujian province of China. It was known formerly as Wan’an Bridge. In the early years of the Tang Dynasty, a large number of people from the Central Plains moved south to see the ancient capital of Luoyang. The mountains and landform here are similar to those in Luoyang City, so the bridge was also named Luoyang Bridge. It is also known as one of the four famous bridges in ancient China together with Lugou Bridge in Beijing, the Zhaozhou Bridge in Hebei, and the Guangji Bridge in Guangdong. Luoyang Bridge is a cross-sea beam stone bridge existing at an earlier time in China, and is also the beginning of the raft foundation of bridge in the world.
Unique Luoyang bridge construction
Construction of the Luoyang Bridge started in 1053 and was completed in 1059. It was led by Cai Xiang, the governor of Quanzhou who was also one of the four famous calligraphers in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The bridge features ship-like piers and a unique method of reinforcing the foundation. The ship-like piers made of granite could easily cut the rapid current in the river. Oysters were bred under the bridge because the liquid they secreted would help to bind the piers and the footstones together to reinforce the foundation. This is the first time a living organism was used to assist in construction anywhere in the world!
Since it was built, the Luoyang Bridge has been restored many times. At present, it is about 731 meters (2,398 feet) long, 5 meters (16 feet) wide and 7 meters (22 feet) high. It has 645 railings, 104 stone lions, 44 ship-like piers, 7 pagodas and 1 pavilion. With a height of 12 meters (39 feet), the statue of Cai Xiang stands at one end of the bridge.
Temples and Pagodas on the Luoyang bridge
Many stone tablets from past dynasties were erected near the middle pavilion on the Luoyang Bridge, including stone statues of pagodas and warriors. The site of a former temple lies on the north end of the bridge and Cai Xiang Temple stands on the opposite end. Inside the temple is a stone tablet from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) with an inscription by Cai Xiang recording his Notes on Wan’an Bridge (万安桥记). With its exquisite carvings, the tablet gained the reputation of ‘Three Superbs’ – calligraphy, article and carving!
Visiting The Luoyang / Wan’an Bridge
If you plan to travel in China and decide to visit the Wan’an Bridge take the No. 13 city bus at the Quanzhou Railway Station or the No. 19 at the New Bus Station to Luoyang Bridge or take a taxi from any other location in the city. There many hotels and restaurants in the area. You may want to go for a walk over the bridge to see everything, feel the ancient stones and admire the views… Make sure to wear comfy shoes, no heels!