Khaju Bridge located in Isfahan, Iran is one of the most famous and beautiful bridges in the world . It was built by Shah Abbas II in 1667, on the foundations of an older bridge. The Khaju Bridge is approximately 132 meters long and 20 meters wide. Along the length of the bridge are watchtowers. Contained in 2 storeys, it includes 23 intersecting arches with 21 larger, and 26 smaller inlets and outlet channels. Structurally sound, the bridge is still in working order even though it is around 350 years old. Existing inscriptions suggest that the bridge was repaired in 1873.
Not only is it a bridge, but also acts as a dam and sluice gate. On the eastern side of the bridge there is a high sill, which collects the water .When the gates are closed, the water level behind the bridge is raised to irrigate gardens alongside the Zayandeh River.
Octagonal pavilions in the center of the bridge on both the down and the upstream sides provide vantage points for the remarkable views. The lower level of the bridge may be accessed by pedestrians and remains a popular shady place for relaxing.
This bridge is a great example of a Roman Arch bridge. The bridge is a semicircular structure with abutments on each end (part of a structure that bears the weight or pressure of an arch). The arches shift the weight from the bridge deck to the support structure. The force of compression is pushed outward along the curve of the arch toward the abutments. An arch bridge does not need cables or additional supports and are usually made of stone.
The Khoju Bridge has two stories of arcades, marked by the distinctive intersecting arches decorated with richly colored tiles. At the center of the bridge, there are two large pavilions, called the Prince Parlors, that were originally reserved for the Shah.
Original 17th century paintings and beautiful tile work are still viewable on the bridge today. An octagonal pavilion is set in the centre of the bridge that now houses an art gallery and teahouses. Originally the Shah Abbas and his courtiers would sit and admire the views, while below them people would congregate on the steps enjoying the coolness of the flowing water. This bridge offered an oasis against the heat in the middle of the desert.