ARCHIVE. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
This panorama was shot in May of 2008 from one of the main sightseeing of San Francisco - the Golden Gate Bridge. To shoot it we took with us a 4 meter collapsible telescope when we left Moscow for the USA. On the way it was lost in two airports but in two weeks, to the very end of our visit, it fortunately found us. And that was not the end of our adventures: as soon as we had finished our shooting, the police came for us by three cars. However, this story has a happy end.
So, I'd like to tell you in brief about one of the most recognizable bridges in the world - the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Pacific Ocean and Sun Francisco Bay are connected with Golden Gate Strait. It is considered that such poetic name was given by military topographer John Freemont who had seen its likeness with Golden Horn Bay in Istanbul. Many dreamed of the bridge's construction even in XIX century, but only in the beginning of XX century the real technical potential appeared to realize this idea. Engineer Joseph Strauss, who has elaborated nearly 400 bridge constructions by that time, made a proposal to extend a cable bridge with two bridge abutments and 2.5 km long. His project was taken an interest, but wasn't trusted and, finally, refused.
However, Sun Francisco grew rapidly and each year there were more and more cars. The experts began to analyze all the pro et contra of an automobile and pedestrian bridge of a traditional construction. The approximate costs of such a project were 100 million dollars - the unprecedented amount at that time. The city hadn't got this money.
And then Joseph Strauss announced that he could construct the cable bridge which would cost maximum 27 million dollars. This bold project had been approved by President Franklin Roosevelt and construction works, finally, began.
But this wasn't the end of the bridge's hard struggle for its place in the sun. The realization of its construction held under difficult conditions. Frequent mists, winds and waves made difficulties to set the bridge abutments, pull on wire cables and place bridge spans. And in spite of the strict execution of safety standards, before the very end of the construction works 10 people died by tragic accident.
In the opinion of some people in mystical mood, that accident was predetermined the future destiny of the bridge. The thing is that this construction, which became the most recognizable sightseeing of the city and which has been the longest cable bridge in the world for a long time, had the ill fame of the Suicide Bridge. The first suicide happened here in 1937, in three weeks after its opening. In the 90's the number of the self-murderers was more than one thousand people and then it was decided not to maintain official statistic records anymore. However, the fact is that the bridge takes one life, approximately, in two weeks. And this fact is inexplicable, because this bridge is not the only one hereabouts. According to some statistics, each 85 facts of suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge are compared with 14 the same tragedies on the neighboring bridge.
But the things are not so bad. During the large International Construction Exhibition 1999, which took place in Las Vegas, the only bridge, the Golden Gate, was in TOP 10 of the most significant achievements in the sphere on construction of XX century.
Among the touching facts from the bridge's life is a cross of a little deer in 2004. The young deer survived but the movement was stopped for 20 minutes.
The colour of the bridge is bright orange. It was chosen by the first architecture-consultant of the project - Irving Morrow.
The question can appear: "How often is it painted?"
The answer is unexpected: "It is painted daily and constantly. These works never end." A special group of 28 painters do it. The total costs of technical support of the bridge are 14 million dollars per year including paints and coverings.
All these make the Golden Gate that is an arterial highway as it is the unique architectural and cultural monument. And a magnificent view from the bridge to the city and to the strait of the same name attracts million tourists here.
And you can admire this beauty too.
27 July 2010
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