Fear and excitement were among the initial feelings as the first tourists stepped onto the world’s longest suspension pedestrian bridge, which spans a mountain valley in the Czech Republic.
“We came here because we love adrenaline,” hiker Michaela Klestilova said as she approached the 721-meter walkway, which hangs 95 meters above the ground at its highest point and opened to the public on Friday.
“We came here on foot, and now we are looking for our reward.”
Dubbed Sky Bridge 721, it took two years to build, costing 200 million kroner (Canadian $10.8 million), and is suspended by six main support ropes and 60 wind ropes.
It is located more than 1,100 meters above sea level and connects two mountain ranges in the northeastern region of the country, 200 kilometers from Prague and close to the Polish border.
The bridge caps off the 516-meter Arouca Bridge in Portugal, which had previously been the longest suspension walkway.
The new Czech bridge is not without its critics.
The regional director of the Czech Nature Conservation Agency, Michal Servus, told Czech television this week that the bridge caused problems with the protection of surrounding areas and changed the character of the area.
Officials hope it will boost tourism in the area by providing a different look at the forested landscape.
“For me, this is a great sight,” said Michal Hofirek, the bridge’s first visitor.