Sometimes a sight for airshows, it's an everyday spectacle for those commuting into San Fransisco.
In sunlight it has a truly golden glow, and in fog it towers above the banks of mist. It passed its toughest test - the earthquake of 1989 - without any notable damage. It is and remains the landmark symbol of the city. At the start of the 20th century, even the boldest engineers thought it would be simply impossible to build a bridge at this spot. The Golden Gate, so called in 1848 by Captain Fremont because it reminded him of the Golden Horn in Istanbul, is on a different scale to the small inlet of the Bosphorus. The water is 97 m deep at its deepest point, and the force of the ebb and flow of the tide is thousands of times more than the gentle tide at the strait between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. But the city fathers of San Francisco commissioned studies into the possibility of a bridge back in 1918. On 5 January 1933, the first spadeful of earth was dug under the supervision of chief engineer Joseph B. Strauss, and some four years later, on 27 May 1937, construction was completed. An undisputed masterpiece of engineering but it came at a price: It cost 35 million dollars and the lives of eleven construction workers - 19 other survived thanks to a safety net. The suspension bridge is 2.7 km long if you also include the motorway slip roads on both sides. The suspended part alone measures 1966 m. It is supported by thick steel cables which would extend for around 128,000 km if they were laid end to end, so could span the globe three times. The bridge's two towers extend up to a height of 227 m, and the gap between the sea and the roadway is 67 m. At the southern on-ramp there is a statue of Joseph B. Strauss, who died just a year after his masterpiece was completed. On 28 May 1937 he wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle: "The bridge that nobody would be able to build, that nobody would approve and support, the bridge for which there wouldn't be enough traffic to justify it, the bridge that would be a brutal interference with the natural beauty of the Bay... this bridge you now see in all its majestic glory right in front of you!"