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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bridges: Mythical and Real

Bridges are present in all mythologies. Bridges symbolize a passage from one world to the next. Mythical bridges, spiritual bridges and real bridges can be frightening, and at the same time so attractive. It is a passage, a beginning, a connection between what you know and the unknown. It is what you want, fear, pursue, or escape. It is life, death and survival. The architectural beauty of some bridges is astonishing. Even if they are manmade, they are entities because we risk our lives by crossing them.

In Islam, there is "the Straight Bridge" also called Al-Sirat al-Jahim (As-Sirāt : الصراط).It is the bridge that we must cross on the Day of the Judgement to enter paradise. It is described as thin as a hair and as sharp as a sword, below the fires of Hell. “People who performed acts of goodness in their lives are transported across the path in speeds according to their deeds leading them to the Hauzu'l-Kausar -the lake of abundance". In Iranian religious literature, there is Cinvat Bridge also a symbol for admission to paradise. And the Pope is known as the ‘sovereign pontiff’, which comes from Pontifex Maximus, the ‘greatest bridge-builder’. The Pope is compared to "the guardian" of the catholic heaven…

In this world, until that day, we have fantastic bridges that have to resist time and nature. In California, the Bay Bridge is competing against the time to become earthquake resistant. According to 60 minutes, “Scientists call the Bay Area a tectonic time bomb. Earthquake faults crisscross the region, pushing up mountains and creating the bay itself; the Bay Bridge sits between two of the most dangerous.” However, until next earthquake, with an economic crisis, and political blah-blah, there is one “in construction” sign. 
May the Bay Bridge win the race but Mother Nature is unpredictable...

One of my favorite--the Rialto Bridge,Venice because I like Venice. And Antonio da Ponte did compete against  Michelangelo and Palladio for the contract!!


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