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Vizcaya Bridge

Vizcaya Bridge

Vizcaya Bridge straddles the mouth of the Ibaizabal estuary, west of Bilbao. It was designed by the Basque architect Alberto de Palacio and completed in 1893. The 45-m-high bridge with its span of 160 m, merges 19th-century ironworking traditions with the then new lightweight technology of twisted steel ropes. It was the first bridge in the world to carry people and traffic on a high suspended gondola and was used as a model for many similar bridges in Europe, Africa and the America only a few of which survive. With its innovative use of lightweight twisted steel cables, it is regarded as one of the outstanding architectural iron constructions of the Industrial Revolution.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Pont Vizcaya

Ce pont transbordeur monumental enjambe l’embouchure de l’estuaire de l’Ibaizabal à l’ouest de Bilbao. Conçu par l’architecte basque Alberto de Palacio, il a été terminé en 1893. Haut de 45m et d’une portée de 160 mètres, il associe la tradition des constructions métalliques du XIXe siècle et la nouvelle technologie des câbles d’acier légers à torsion alternative. Il a été le premier pont au monde à nacelle de transbordement suspendue au-dessus du mouvement des navires, pour le transport des passagers et des véhicules et a servi de modèle à de nombreux autres ponts similaires en Europe, en Afrique et aux Amériques, dont seuls quelques exemplaires sont parvenus jusqu’à nous. De par son utilisation novatrice des câbles d’acier légers à torsion alternative, il est considéré comme une des remarquables constructions d’architecture métallique issues de la Révolution industrielle.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

جسر فيسكايا

يعبر هذا الجسر الأثري الضخم فوق المصب الخليجي لنهر أبايزبال غرب بيلباو. أعدّه المهندس ألبرتو دي بالاسيو من منطقة الباسك وانتهى العمل به عام 1893. يبلغ ارتفاعه 45 متراً وامتداده 160 متراً وهو يجمع بين تقليد البناء المعدني للقرن التاسع عشر وتكنولوجيا الكوابل الفولاذيّة الملولبة. وكان أوّل جسر في العالم ينقل المارّة والسيارات بواسطة سلّة نقل كبيرة معلّقة وشكّل نموذجاً للعديد من الجسور المماثلة في أوروبا وإفريقيا وأمريكا والتي لم يبلغنا سوى بعض الأمثلة منها حتّى يومنا هذا. ونظراً لاستخدامه كوابل الفولاذ الخفيفة الملولبة يعتبر بناءً هندسيّاً معدنيّاً مميّزاً من مخرجات الثورة الصناعيّة.

جسر بين عالمين رسالة اليونسكو (2006)

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

维斯盖亚桥

维斯盖亚桥横跨毕尔巴鄂西面的伊拜萨巴河口。这座桥由巴斯克建筑师阿尔贝托•德•帕拉西奥设计,于1893年完工。桥高45米,跨度160米,融合了19世纪的钢铁传统和当时新兴的螺纹钢筋轻质技术。维斯盖亚桥是世界上第一座供行人和车辆通过的高空拉索桥,欧洲、非洲和南、北美洲的很多大桥都是仿照该桥建造的,不过保存至今的为数不多。由于别出心裁地使用了螺纹钢筋轻质技术,比斯开桥被誉为工业革命时代最杰出的钢铁建筑之一。

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Бискайский мост-транспортер (окрестности города Бильбао)

Бискайский мост-транспортер соединяет берега Ибайсабаля – эстуария реки Нервион северо-западнее Бильбао. Он был спроектирован баскским архитектором Альберто де-Паласио, и его строительство было завершено в 1893 г. Мост высотой 45 м, с пролетом 160 м объединил традиции возведения металлических конструкций Х1Х в. с новой для того времени технологией легких конструкций из стальных витых канатов. Это был первый в мире мост, предназначенный для перемещения людей и экипажей в высоко подвешенной гондоле, который стал образцом для многих подобных мостов в Европе, Африке и Америке, лишь некоторые из которых сохранились до наших дней в очень небольшом числе. Благодаря новаторскому использованию легких витых стальных канатов, этот мост признан одной из выдающихся архитектурных металлических конструкций эпохи промышленной революции.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Puente de Vizcaya

Este puente-transbordador monumental cruza el río Nervión en el estuario de Ibaizábal, al oeste de Bilbao. Diseñado por el arquitecto vizcaíno Alberto de Palacio y Elissague, el puente, de 45 metros de alto y 160 de largo, fue terminado en 1893. Para su realización se recurrió a la técnica tradicional de construcción metálica del siglo XIX, así como al uso innovador de cables de acero ligeros de torsión alternada. Fue el primer puente del mundo que permitió, simultáneamente, el paso de navíos por el río y el transporte de pasajeros y vehículos de una orilla a otra, gracias a una barquilla suspendida. Sirvió de modelo para la construcción de muchos puentes similares en Europa, África y las Américas, aunque muy pocos de ellos existen todavía. Debido al uso innovador de los cables de acero ligeros de torsión alternada, se considera que el Puente de Vizcaya es una de las realizaciones más notables de la Revolución Industrial en materia de arquitectura metálica.

source: UNESCO/ERI
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

ビスカヤ橋
ビスカヤ橋は、スペイン北部バスク地方のビルバオに近いイバイサバル河口に架かる。1893年に完成した橋は、全長160m、高さ45mで、高所から巨大なゴンドラを吊るし、そこに人や車などの交通機関を乗せて移動させるというもの。この橋の特徴は、当時の技術としては革新的な、軽量のねじり鉄鋼ロープを使用し、重いゴンドラを吊るすことに成功した点である。同種の橋は、産業革命の波にのり、以後ヨーロッパ・アフリカ・アメリカ大陸で多様されたが、現存するものは少ない。設計者は、パリのエッフェル塔を手がけた鉄の魔術師ギュスタヴ・エッフェルと親交のあった、ビルバオ出身のアルベルト・デ・パラシオ。

source: NFUAJ

Vizcaya brug

De Vizcaya brug werd ontworpen door de Baskische architect Alberto de Palacio en voltooid in 1893. De 45-meter hoge brug met zijn spanwijdte van 160 meter, brengt de 19e-eeuwse manier van ijzerbewerking samen met de toen nieuwe lichtgewicht technologie van gedraaide staalkabels. Het was de eerste brug ter wereld waarover mensen en verkeer zich via een hoog hangende gondel verplaatsten. De brug stond model voor veel soortgelijke bruggen in Europa, Afrika en Amerika, waarvan er nog maar een paar bestaan. Door de innovatieve toepassing van lichte, gedraaide staalkabels wordt de brug beschouwd als een vooraanstaande ijzeren constructie van de Industriële Revolutie.

Source: unesco.nl

Vizcaya Bridge © UNESCO
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Monumental Vizcaya Hanging Bridge is an infrastructure located in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, over the mouth of the River Ibaizabal, at the point where the navigable estuary of Bilbao opens out to the sea. It spans the two banks of the river, thereby connecting the municipalities of Getxo and Portugalete.

It was designed by the Basque architect, Alberto de Palacio, who devised the first bridge in the world with a hanging transporter – which transports passengers and vehicles by means of a gondola suspended high above the passing ships. Its construction is outstanding for merging 19th-century ironworking traditions, taken from the railways, with the new lightweight technology of twisted steel cables, designed by the Frenchman Ferdinand Arnodin. Constructed on private initiative between 1887 and 1893, the bridge has worked almost without interruption since it was built.

The bridge follows the style of the mining aerial tramways and constitutes an outstanding example of architectural minimalism. It is composed of four riveted lattice steel towers, cable-stayed and connected in two pairs, with a total height of 51 metres. Between the two sets of towers, one on either bank, are parabolic cables from which the upper crossbeam hangs, measuring 160 metres in length, suspended 45 metres above sea level at high tide. In order not to interfere with the navigation, a mechanical trolley runs along the crossbeam, from which a platform hangs at the same height as the banks: this is the gondola, capable of transporting around twelve vehicles and some two hundred people. It is known for its aesthetic qualities and constitutes the first bridge in the world to transport passengers using a mechanical, hanging transporter.

The Vizcaya Bridge, one of the most outstanding iron architectural constructions of the European industrial revolution, was hugely innovative due to the fact that it allowed the passage of ships on a wide estuary, with no need for ramps or for raising and lowering of the bridge. This is therefore a system which, at the time it was built, introduced a new solution to meet the requirements at hand and a new method of transport. Furthermore, as regards the materials used, it represents the ironworking methods practiced in the Basque region, starting with exploitation of the local iron ore deposits in Roman times until reaching the peak of its production in the industrial revolution. Its impact at world level was important, given that it was used as a new model for many other transporter bridges of similar characteristics in Europe, Africa and America, very few of which still stand today.

Criterion (i): For being a surprising work that perfectly combines beauty, aesthetics and functionality: the Vizcaya Bridge is a spectacular and aesthetically pleasing addition to the river estuary and an exceptional expression of technical creativity, reflecting a completely satisfactory relationship between form and function.

Criterion (ii): For its innovative nature from the technological point of view and its condition of pioneer in this kind of constructions: the Vizcaya Bridge, by means of developing a hanging transporter mechanism and merging ironmaking technology with the use of new steel cables, created a new form of construction which influenced the design of bridges all over the world in the three subsequent decades, and exported French and Spanish technologies.

Integrity

The Bridge was opened on 28 July 1893 and has operated continuously ever since, except during the Spanish Civil War from 1937 to 1941, a period when the damage suffered caused the platform to fall into the estuary.  

During 1996, 1997 and 1998, the company responsible for its management, El Transbordador de Vizcaya S.L., went about important work to remove different installations added to the Bridge, which were causing it increasing stress and damage. Outstanding among these were the replacement of seriously damaged structural elements and the strengthening of others. Cutting-edge control and protection systems were also introduced, lifts were added to two of the towers and the former tollbooths were demolished to free up space around the original structure, etc.

Today the Bridge is in a very good state of preservation and, as detailed, includes all essential elements of the original structure that define it as a working transporter bridge. The in-depth restoration of the Bridge’s vital elements was implemented due to the need to preserve the original elements; these have saved the Bridge from inevitable technical decline while contributing to the integrity of its structure. The modifications made to the Gondola and power systems serve as an example in the preservation of original functioning structural elements and, therefore, in conserving the integrity of the structure as a working bridge. It should be remembered that today only eight of the more than twenty transporter bridges built in the world are still standing.

Authenticity

Throughout its history, the Vizcaya Bridge has undergone partial updates and modernisations to meet the new necessities as they arose, with no detriment to the essential characteristics that lend it its value. These interventions (replacement of the gondola, introduction of new power systems, installation of new lifts, removal of secondary structures, etc.) have been necessary to keep the bridge in operation and to preserve its authenticity as an operating structure.

Although, in visual terms, the new systems are not the same as the originals, they do offer a technical solution to current requirements, lending greater safety and durability to the structure as a whole. In this respect, the gondola was replaced with a lighter version and the iron wheels on the upper rails holding it in place were replaced with polyurethane rollers to cushion the movements. The Bridge continues to offer a continuous service between the two towns, which have developed new industries related to tourism and the new port.

In 2011, important engineering work was carried out on the Vizcaya Bridge to renew its interior and exterior structure. More than 250 parts were replaced, including guy cables and other parts, in addition to a new running rail, but maintaining and always remaining faithful to the value of their authenticity, and without interrupting its use at any time. Having made an exhaustive analysis of the Bridge structure, it was found that the jet-black colour absorbed excessive radiation, which generated structural fatigue in the steel of the towers and crossbeam. The decision was therefore taken to change the colour to “Vena Roja Hematites Somorrostro”, the most effective for future preservation of the structure.

Protection and management requirements

The Bridge is a cultural monument, approved by Decree 2003 in accordance with Law 7/1990, on Basque Cultural Heritage. Furthermore, both Getxo and Portugalete have Development Plans under which the Bridge environment is protected. The Bridge is the property of the Spanish State which, through its Ministry of Public Works and Transport, delegates its responsibilities to the National Port Authority which, in turn, delegates many decisions to the Bilbao Port Authority. Since 1996, El Transbordador de Vizcaya S.L., a private company, has held the concession to manage the bridge, running until 2025 and giving work to some 30 people.

The Bridge is managed by different bodies with the core objective of developing cultural tourism. With a view to guaranteeing its preservation and authenticity, while also coordinating the different actions and promoting the Bridge and the areas around it, at the moment of the World Heritage declaration, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, of the Basque Government, of the Provincial Office of Bizkaia, of the Municipal Councils of Portugalete and Getxo, and of the Bizkaia Transport Company, jointly drew up a Management Plan. Based on this Plan, an Institutional Panel was constituted to monitor the different works carried out and the holding of events. Similar, a Board of Trustees was appointed to carry out projects related to the objectives of the said Plan, also creating an Advisory Committee for the purposes of studies, analyses and research work. Lastly, a Technical Team puts the plans approved into action and controls the documentation.

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