Cartilage is a supporting connective tissue that, together with the bone, forms the framework supporting the body as a whole. There are many distinct types of cartilage, which exhibit numerous similarities as well as differences. Among them, articular cartilage is the best known and the most studied type. Articular cartilage is the thin layer of connective tissue that covers the articulating ends of bones in synovial (diarthrodial) joints. It provides a smooth surface for joint movement and acts as a load-bearing medium that protects the bone and distributes stress. The intense interest in articular cartilage is motivated by the critical role its degradation plays in arthritis and related joint diseases, which are the number one cause of disability in humans. This chapter discusses the physical, chemical and cellular properties of cartilage that give the tissue its extraordinary load-bearing characteristics.