Zhangjiajie opens longest glass-bottom bridge
Updated: 2016-08-24 07:55
Children lie down on the glass-bottom bridge in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, on Saturday. It is said to be the world's highest and longest glass-bottom bridge. [Photo by Zhou Guoqiang/China Daily]
The world's highest and longest glass-bottom bridge opened on Saturday in China's spectacular Zhangjiajie－the inspiration for the US blockbuster movie Avatar.
Some 430 meters long and suspended 300 meters off the ground, the bridge spans the canyon between two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie park in Central China's Hunan province.
Six meters wide and made of 99 panels of clear glass, the bridge can hold up to 800 people at once, said an official in Zhangjiajie, a popular tourist destination.
Tourists can walk across the bridge, designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan. The more adventurous will be able to bungee jump or ride a zip line.
"I wanted to feel awe-inspired by this bridge. But I'm not afraid－it seems safe!" Wang Min, who was visiting the new structure with her husband and children, said on Saturday.
After another glass bridge cracked at Yuntai Mountain in Central China's Henan province in 2015, authorities in Zhangjiajie were eager to demonstrate the safety of the structure.
They organized a string of media events, including one where people were encouraged to try to smash the bridge's glass panels with a sledgehammer, and another where they drove a car across it.
"It's crowded today and a bit of a mess. But to be suspended 300 meters in the air, it's a unique experience," said Lin Chenglu, who had come to see the bridge with his colleagues.
Only 8,000 people each day will be allowed to cross the bridge, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency, and tourists will have to book their tickets a day in advance at a cost of 138 yuan ($20). People wearing stilettos will be banned, it added.
Local authorities have said that one of the summits in Zhangjiajie inspired the floating mountain that appears in Avatar.
A Hollywood photographer visited the area in 2008, taking images that were used for the film, according to media reports.