When a centuries-old stone bridge collapsed in Tunxi, the downtown
district of Huangshan, Anhui province, on Tuesday morning, sighs soon
overwhelmed social media around China and in the historic city in
Zhenhai Bridge, whose name literally means "to pacify the ocean",
failed to hold its ground against the roaring floodwaters of the Xin'an
River during a heavy rainstorm that started on Monday.
The seven-arch bridge, which is 133 meters long and 15 meters wide,
was constructed in 1536 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and had been
hit by multiple floods ever since.
It was rebuilt in 1676 and 1699 and underwent a major restoration in
1884 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), followed by several partial
renovations in modern times.
In October, the bridge was inscribed onto the most recent list of the
cultural heritage sites under national-level key protection due to its
Situated at the gateway of the historical neighborhood of Tunxi, the
bridge used to be an artery road, but after a new bridge was built
nearby last year to improve transportation, Zhenhai Bridge was used only
According to a statement from the Huangshan city government, no one
was injured in the accident due to the bridge being locked down before
the collapse after some passersby noticed the bridge piers were
For nostalgic locals, Zhenhai Bridge was simply known as "the old bridge".
"I used to go across the bridge every day riding bicycles during my
high school years," Niu Ling, an IT company employee working in
Barcelona who is from Tunxi, told China Daily. "We thought the old
bridge would always be there because it was part of our everyday life,
and hardly thought of taking pictures of it.
"However, only when we saw on the internet that the cultural heritage
site was suddenly gone, we began to feel that it was a spiritual pillar
supporting our deepest emotion for home," she said.
Zhenhai Bridge was not the only victim of the rampant flooding across southern China these days.
According to the National Cultural Heritage Administration, over 130
cultural heritage sites in 11 provincial-level administrative regions
had been destroyed or damaged in the ongoing floods as of Tuesday.