China’s oldest bridge still standing, the Zhàozhōu Bridge has spanned the Jiǎo River (Jiǎo Hé) for 1400 years. As the world’s first segmental arch bridge (ie its arch is a segment of a circle, as opposed to a complete semicircle), it predates other bridges of its type throughout the world by 800 years. In fine condition, and part of a riverside, landscaped park, it is 50.82m long and 9.6m wide, with a span of 37m.
Twenty-two stone posts are topped with carvings of dragons and mythical creatures, with the centre slab featuring a magnificent tāotiè (an offspring of a dragon).
The bridge is in Zhàoxiàn County, about 40km southeast of Shíjiāzhuāng and 2km south of Zhàoxiàn town. To get here from Shíjiāzhuāng, head to the south bus station, then take a bus to Zhàoxiàn (赵县; ¥11, one hour, frequent). Get off at Shí Tǎ (石塔), a slim stone pagoda in the middle of the road, where you turn right to walk the final 2km, or else take dinky local bus 2 (¥1). The last bus back to Shíjiāzhuāng swings past Shí Tǎ at about 7pm.