The Luís I Bridge (Ponte Luís I) is a metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. At the time of construction its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world. The Government held a competition for the construction of a metallic bridge over the Douro River on a site that was adjacent to an existing bridge and would replace it. Téophile Seyrig had already engineered the D. Maria Pia Bridge project nearby, whilst working as a partner of Eiffel. He now took sole responsibility for the new, major Luís 1st Bridge. The construction was begun in 1881 and the bridge opened on 31 October 1886. Total length 385.25 m Weight 3045 tons The arch measures 172 m in length and 44.6 m in height Dom Luís Bridge Dom Luís Bridge at night with Vila Nova de Gaia on the background. Originally built to take road traffic on both decks, at various times it saw trams on the upper and trolleybuses on the lower. The top deck is now occupied by Line D of the Metro do Porto and a pedestrian walkway. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dom_Lu%C3%ADs_Bridge,_Porto
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.