Queen Emma Bridge, the 8th Modern World Wonder to be.
WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao – November 11, 2013 – Curaçao’s Queen Emma Bridge has finished in the ‘Top 10’ of VirtualTourist.com’s 8th Wonder of the World contest. Earlier this year, VirtualTourist announced it was on the hunt to identify the 8th Wonder of the World through site visitor votes. More than 300 landmarks from around the globe competed for the top spot and bragging rights to the 8th Wonder designation. Torres del Paine, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known for its lakes, glaciers, waterfalls and granite towers, took top honors, out of more than 300 entries from over 50 countries but Curaçao’s ‘Top 10’ finish reaffirms the island as a “fan favorite” on a global scale.
A World Natural Heritage monument, the Queen Emma Bridge was constructed by American consul Leonard Burlington Smith in 1888 and is considered one of the world’s most unique bridges. The bridge is hinged and opens to enable the passage of ocean going vessels. On the opposite end from the hinge is a small shelter where an operator controls two diesel engines turning propellers. The propellers are mounted perpendicular to the length of the bridge which allows it to swing parallel to the shore. The process only takes a few minutes to complete. When the bridge is open to let ships from the harbor pass, pedestrians are transported free of charge by a small ferry.
Also called Curaçao’s “Swinging Old Lady,” the Queen Emma pontoon bridge connects the east side (Punda) to the west side (Otrabanda) of the city of Willemstad, Curaçao’s capital and is instrumental to the viability of the port and Willemstad’s city center. The Queen Emma Bridge, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, has become an icon of the island, boosting tourism and Curaçao’s economy.