The Long Bridge of Vrahlis
A Marvel of Engineering.
The Long Bridge of Vrahlis is thought to be the longest bridge in the world. It spans the eastern channel of the Royn river, linking the main island of the city to its eastern half. It is widely regarded by both travelers and residents as the most impressive structure in the city.
Purpose / Function
Construction of a bridge linking the main island and the rapidly growing western shore of the city became a priority half-way throughout the second age as the city began to grow exponentially. Ferries across the water were hardly keeping up with the demand. There was also the fact that the Eastern side could be isolated in case of attack and that reinforcement would take too long to trickle in if ferried across. The city decided to directly link the two shores via a bridge.
From 1308 BC to 1301 BC: the bridge is widened from 22 metres to 28 metres, allowing for a wider central street and larger houses. This was done to improve circulation on the bridge which had already become completely congested during the day as well as to help security in case of criminal activity or fire. Houses were demolished on the north side facing the river for the widening project to take place. In 1171 BC Large fire occurred on the bridge. 25% of the houses present at the time were destroyed or damaged. The city orders that a reserve of water barrels are be installed every 200 metres on the bridge as well as for the Stonemages's Guild to employ Watermages to deploy and uses those reserves in case of fire. The Stonemages's Guid agrees to the recommendations. From 1055 BC to 1047 BC: A large storms in the fall of 1055 BC managed to set lose a dozen ships from the Old Port of the city, and sends them crashing onto the bridge. The bridge was lightly damaged but the Stonemages's Guild nonetheless proposed to modify the bridge and lift it up higher above the water. The Prince and Council approved. The bridge was closed to the public for 6 years, during which time about 75% of all the houses on the bridge are destroyed, mostly on the central span and adjacent sections. New Karthstone bricks were placed on top of the old span on the western and eastern side of the bridge. These new bricks raised the incline from 3 to 10 metres. The central span was then partially demolished. 3 of the 7 pillars of the original central span were removed while the 4 remaining ones were reinforced. Three large arches were constructed 7 metres above the previous height to match the new height of the eastern and western sections. Once this was done, the roadway was smoothed out and the bridge was reopened to the public. From 1049 BC to 1047 BC, four pillars were added, as well as two gates separating the central span of the bridge from the first and third section. The first building to be constructed on the new bridge was the new headquarters of the Stonemages's Guild and finished construction in 1044 BC in 31 BC, During the chaotic finals years of the Third Age, the city of Vrahlis was under siege by the Essanian empire. Unable to break the siege, the frustrated enemy army decided to go out with a bang. They loaded a ship full of Milkfire, a highly potent explosive sap, and launched it towards the bridge. With all the mages manning the walls and with high southerly winds, nothing stopped the ship from smashing the bridge near the 12th pillar on the bridge's south side. The pillar was greatly damaged and a small fire spread on the bridge, but it was quickly contained. However, after a couple minutes, the pillar and parts of the roadway above it crashed into the sea, leaving behind a large hole that almost cut the bridge in half. The 12th pillar on the north side of the bridge as well as the 11th pillar on the south side were gravely damaged but managed to be repared enough to be stabilized. The rest of the bridge was structurally sound and remained partially opened during the siege to allow troop movement. After the siege had ended, a temporary wooded roadway was constructed to cover the hole in the stone structure. From 14 AC to 16 AC: The collapsed portion of the bridge is finally reconstructed.
RoadwayVisually, the bridge can be separated into 3 distinct sections. The first section of the bridge is around 600 metres long and connects the main island to the central section. The central section of the bridge is around 300 meters long. It connects the western and eastern section together. The eastern section is around 600 metres long and connects the central section of the bridge to the eastern shore of the river. The central section of the bridge is raised 30 metres above the river surface, while each side section start at around 10 metres above the river and gradually rise to 30 metres.
Support Pillars and ArchesThe bridge end with two large blocks of stone on each shore, 10 metres high and 80 metres long. The rest of the span is supported by 24 karthstone pillars. 20 of them are under the side sections of the bridge and are each 9 metres wide. The 4 remaining pillars are under the central section of the bridge. The second and third pillars of this section are 15 metres wide, while the 2 outer pillars are the largest pillars under the bridge at 18 meters wide. These pillars connect the side section of the bridge with the central section. The pillars on the side section jut out 3 metres from the side of the bridge, while the ones under the central section jut out 5 meters from the side of the bridge. Each of these pillars are linked by large arches that distribute the weight of the bridge into the pillars below. Under the side sections, each of these arches are 34 metres wide, while they are 57 metres wide under the central sections.
Habitations and AdornmentsThe two outer pillars of the central section of the bridge also each support 2 smaller pillars, resembling 4 obelisks rising on either side of the bridge. These pseudo Obelisks pairs are connected by a stone arch spanning over the roadway below. Each of the four pillars are topped with large sculpted copper spires. Every day, at dusk, a fire is lit up inside the Spires to indicate to the ships where to pass under the bridge during the night and for aesthetic purposes. The bridge itself is covered in buildings all located along the top of the bridge They contain shops, residences, taverns, temples to various gods, stables and even pleasure houses. The Guildhall of the Stonemages's Guild is also located on the bridge. These buildings can go as high as fives stories. Because the bridge is narrow, some buildings extend back, over the river and are supported by angled wooden beams anchored to the side of the bridge. To alleviate stress on these beams, the upper levels of these buildings are extended forward, over the roadway below so that by the fifth story, buildings across from one another almost touch. Some have bridges build between them or joint roof terraces. This has the effects of creating a sort of tunnel effect for people walking along the bridge.
The bridge is an important touristic destination as the bridge and the entire city for that matter are famed world wide as a place everyone should attempt to visit at least once in their life. The long bridge in particular is very popular with foreigners for its taverns, pleasure houses and alchemy shops.