Yalu River Broken Bridge

The Yalu River Broken Bridge (simplified Chinese: 鸭绿江断桥; traditional Chinese: 鴨綠江斷橋; pinyin: Yālù Jiāng Duàn Qiáo) is a truncated railway swing bridge converted to a viewing platform and historical site. Constructed in 1911 by the Empire of Japan, it was the first bridge built across the Yalu River and connected the Chinese city of Dandong with the Korean city of Sinuiju, linking Japanese-ruled Korea to the Eurasian rail network. The bridge originally consisted of twelve truss spans supported by stone foundations in the riverbed. During the Korean War, the eight spans over the Korean side of the river were badly damaged by American bombing, and were subsequently dismantled. The bridge was not rebuilt. Instead, the remaining four spans over the Chinese side of the river were converted to a walkway, a viewing platform, and a historical site.

Yalu River Broken Bridge

Dandong Bruecke.JPG
The former swing span at the south end of the bridge's surviving portion
Coordinates40°06′54″N 124°23′29″E / 40.1149°N 124.3915°E / 40.1149; 124.3915Coordinates: 40°06′54″N 124°23′29″E / 40.1149°N 124.3915°E / 40.1149; 124.3915
CrossesYalu River
LocaleDandong, Liaoning, China
Total lengthOriginally 944.2 m (3,098 ft)
Width11 m (36 ft)
OpenedOctober 1911

Location and dimensionEdit

The railway bridge is located in Dandong, Liaoning, China, across the Yalu River from Sinuiji, North Korea. It was a steel truss bridge 944.2 metres (3,098 ft) long and 11 metres (36 ft) wide, with 12 spans. Its fourth span was a swing bridge that could be rotated to allow the passing of tall ships.[1]


Aerial photograph taken in November 1950 during air attacks by US bombers. The Broken Bridge is on the left.

The bridge was built by the Empire of Japan in 1911, to connect Japanese-ruled Korea with the Eurasian rail network. With its completion, the southern Korean port of Busan became connected by rail all the way to Calais, France.[2] The Japanese began building the bridge in 1909, before the Qing dynasty government of China granted permission for its construction. By April 1910, with the Korean side of the bridge already half completed, Japan applied heavy pressure on the weak Qing government, then in its last throes, to authorize construction on the Chinese side. It was opened in October 1911, the first bridge across the Yalu River.[1] In April 1937, when Northeast China was ruled by the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo, Japan built a bigger bridge less than 100 metres (330 ft) upstream, now known as the Sino–Korean Friendship Bridge.[1]

During the Korean War, the United States Air Force repeatedly bombed the Yalu River bridges to disrupt the transportation of Chinese troops and supplies into North Korea. On 8 November 1950, the US dispatched more than 100 B-29s to bomb the bridges, and six days later, another 34 bombers attacked and destroyed three spans of the older bridge.[1] The aerial attacks were suspended on 5 December because the Yalu was frozen over and the Chinese could easily cross the river at many points.[3] In February 1951, the US resumed bombing and damaged the bridge except four spans on the Chinese side. From then on it became known as the Broken Bridge.[1]

Heritage and tourismEdit

Close-up view of the disused swing-span rotation mechanism, now viewable from a walkway added in the 1990s
Looking onto the bridge from its north end

After the end of the Korean War, North Korea dismantled its side of the severely damaged bridge. Four spans on the Chinese side, pockmarked by shrapnel, were left in place and preserved. In 1988, the City of Dandong declared Broken Bridge a municipal heritage site.[4]

In 1993, the local government invested 3 million yuan to refurbish the bridge and opened it as a tourist attraction.[4] Visitors can walk on the bridge to the middle of the Yalu River. The end of the Broken Bridge has become a viewing platform for visitors to get a closer look at North Korea.[2]

The Broken Bridge is now a Major National Historical and Cultural Site of China.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f Zhao, Na (6 September 2011). "鸭绿江断桥:沧桑历史的见证者". China.com.cn (in Chinese). Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b Morris-Suzuki, Tessa (15 November 2010). To the Diamond Mountains: A Hundred-Year Journey through China and Korea. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-1-4422-0505-5.
  3. ^ United States Army in the Korean War. United States Government Printing Office. 1961. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-16-088234-0.
  4. ^ a b "鸭绿江端桥将恢复"断桥"名称". People's Daily (in Chinese). 12 June 2000. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2018.

External linksEdit