The Israeli-designed glass bridge spanning the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon is the latest addition to the vertigo-inducing mountain walkway craze sweeping across China.
It’s one of the scariest and most beautiful bridges ever built, according to reports.
The bridge is the work of Israeli architect Haim Dotan. His Tel Aviv staff of architects and urban designers has built public and private projects in Asia, the Persian Gulf, Africa, Israel and Europe.
The bridge in the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon is creating headlines across the world because of its length, height, location and transparency.
The specs are jaw-dropping: the bridge is 430 meters (approximately 1,410 feet) long, is 6 meters (20 feet) wide, and is comprised of 99 three-layer transparent glass panes through which visitors can look down 300 meters (1,000 feet) to the ravine below.
The canyon in Zhangjiajie National Forest in China, with its jagged rock formations and lush vegetation, inspired director James Cameron for his floating peaks in the film Avatar.
The site is said to be so beautiful that Dotan first refused the offer to design a bridge across the canyon, according to Wired magazine.
“[The developer] asked me, ‘What do you think about a bridge from here to there?’ And I said, ‘No,’” Dotan told Wired. “He looked at me and said ‘Why, what are you talking about?’ And I said, ‘Why do you want a bridge? It’s too beautiful.’”
But Dotan did build the bridge – at a cost of $3.4 million — and though it was completed last December, the official opening took place over the weekend. It has already notched up some records including being the longest – and scariest — glass pedestrian bridge in the world.
Dotan’s condition for designing the bridge was that it wouldn’t ruin the beauty of this national park in Hunan Province. “I told [the developer], ‘We can build a bridge but under one condition: I want the bridge to disappear,” Dotan tells Wired.
Indeed, the glass see-through bridge seems to float above the ground and offers an unobstructed view of the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.
Chinese authorities want this bridge to be an international tourist attraction and are staging promotional stunts: They have invited volunteers to drive an SUV across the bridge to prove its safety; and to prove its durability, bashed one of the glass panes with sledgehammers.
Developers of the bridge plan to use this attraction to host fashion shows and as a new bungee jump center.