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Luoyang Bridge

Luoyang Bridge was the first flat-beam cross-channel stone bridge in the history of China. First built between 1053 and 1059 during the Northern Song Dynasty, Luoyang Bridge is a large cross-channel stone bridge connecting the city of Quanzhou with inland areas of China. The granite bridge is 731m long and 4.5m wide, with 45 stone piers and 500 stone rail posts. The largest stone slab used is 11m in length, 0.98m in width and 0.80m in thickness. Each stone slab weighs from several to over ten tons, a big challenge for construction workers. Advanced techniques were invented to build Luoyang Bridge, including “consolidating the foundation by cultivating oysters”, “raft-shaped foundation” and “transporting heavy stone slabs by using buoyancy forces and waves”. The pioneering method of “consolidating the foundation by cultivating oysters” uses biological principles in bridge construction. There are four stone statues of bridge-guarding generals and six stone pagodas that date back to the 11th century as well as numerous stone steles and cliff inscriptions.Luoyang Bridge is an important transportation infrastructure facilitating water-overland connectivity in the port of ancient Quanzhou. It represents not only a masterpiece of bridge engineering of ancient China but also an outstanding example in the world history of bridge building. The stupas at Luoyang Bridge were built in the same period as the bridge. Similar with the stupas in Kaiyuan Temple, they are the outcome of the eastern dissemination of Esoteric Buddhism of ancient India. Luoyang Bridge facilitated land-and-sea transportation, enhanced connectivity with inland areas north of ancient Quanzhou port, and significantly extended the scope of trade activities and cultural communication into Fuzhou city and Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces which were economically and culturally developed areas in ancient China.

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