China opens longest glass bottom bridge in world

Some 1,400 feet long and suspended 300 meters above the earth, the bridge spans the canyon between two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie park

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Tourists who suffer from vertigo need not apply. The world’s highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge opened in China’s spectacular Zhangjiajie mountains on Saturday – the inspiration for the American blockbuster Avatar.

Some 1,400 feet long and suspended 300 meters above the earth, the bridge spans the canyon between two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie park in China’s central Hunan province.

Six meters wide and made of some 99 panels of clear glass, the bridge can carry up to 800 people at the same time, an official in Zhangjiajie – a popular tourist destination – told the Xinhua news agency.

Tourists can walk across the bridge, designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan, and the more adventurous will be able to bungee jump or ride a zip line.

The world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge is seen above a valley in Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan Province on August 20, 2016.  FRED DUFOUR / AFP
The world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge is seen above a valley in Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan Province on August 20, 2016. FRED DUFOUR / AFP

“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.

Following an alarming glass bridge cracking incident at the Yuntai mountain in northern Henan 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 and smash the bridge’s glass panels with a sledge hammer, and another where they drove a car across it.

The world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge is seen above a valley in Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan Province on August 21, 2016.  FRED DUFOUR / AFP
The world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge is seen above a valley in Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan Province on August 21, 2016. FRED DUFOUR / AFP

“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, Xinhua said, and tourists will have to book their tickets a day in advance, at a cost of 138 yuan ($20).

A woman poses on the world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge is seen above a valley in Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan Province on August 20, 2016.  FRED DUFOUR / AFP
A woman poses on the world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge is seen above a valley in Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan Province on August 20, 2016. FRED DUFOUR / AFP

Cameras and selfie sticks are banned, and people wearing stilettos will not be allowed to walk on the bridge, Xinhua said.

Local authorities have said that one of the summits in Zhangjiajie Park inspired the floating mountain which appears in the American blockbuster Avatar.

A visitor poses for a photograph on the world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge above a valley in Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan Province on August 21, 2016.  FRED DUFOUR / AFP
A visitor poses for a photograph on the world's highest and longest glass-bottomed bridge above a valley in Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan Province on August 21, 2016. FRED DUFOUR / AFP

A Hollywood photographer visited the area in 2008, taking images which were used for the film, according to media reports.

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