East Taihang Glasswalk – Changzhi, China - Atlas Obscura
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Changzhi, China

East Taihang Glasswalk

This terrifying glass bridge on the side of a mountain cracks as you step on it. 

China is known for its crazy bridges, but this one might be the most bonkers. On its own, the East Taihang Glasswalk—a 3,800 foot tall glass-bottomed walkway in the towering mountains of eastern China—would be absolutely terrifying. But apparently, for the operators of the glass bridge, these heights are not scary enough: to truly petrify its guests, the bridge’s operators have used an optical illusion to make it appear as if the glass beneath your feet is cracking into pieces.

As visitors to the East Taihang Mountains walk across a glass bridge thousands of feet high in the sky, a series of splintering cracks will suddenly begin to appear like a spider web on the floor. There is little that will make your heart pound more than staring down at the mountain valley hundreds of stories beneath your feet, and then discovering that the invisible layer of glass that has sustained your life so far appears to have been shattered.

Fortunately for guests to the glasswalk, the bridge has never actually broken. The splintering of the glass is merely a prank, albeit one of the most provocative, high-tech, and absolutely terrifying ones in the world. The effect is accomplished with infrared sensors which track the movement of people walking across the bridge, triggering a dual visual and audio effect to give the impression that the glass walkway is fracturing into pieces.

Upon looking at videos taken of the bridge, it’s clear that the breaking glass effect is just an illusion, as the “cracks” disappear after just a few seconds. In the moment, however, the East Taihang bridge may easily provoke the greatest panic attack of your life.