The Hermitage bridge across the Winter Canal close to the State Hermitage Museum was built at the same time as the granite embankments of the Neva river in 1763-1766. It is one of the oldest bridge constructions of Saint Petersburg.
The bridge fitted in the surrounding architecture and landscape perfectly. That’s thanks to its rounded longitudinal traction that nicely complete retaining walls of embankments and elegant parapets that face waters of the Neva river.
Earlier, in 1718–1720, there was a wooden raising bridge on a place of the modern Hermitage bridge. Over almost fifty years, that wooden construction was periodically reconstructed. In 1763-1766 it had to give its place to a new stone bridge, beautifully covered with granite tiles of accurate cutting. Such decoration of the bridge was a huge artistic event, as back in the days it was just the beginning of creating alike stone constructions. They had absolutely new shapes and stayed in harmony with other stone embankments of Saint Petersburg.
Over one and a half centuries, the Hermitage bridge stayed in that balanced condition. It was not even reconstructed. The only changes were made to its carriageway: its cobblestone cover was exchanged to a wooden one, and later – to asphalt.
In 1933, as a result of technical research, the poor condition of the bridge was detected. Thus, a year later, engineer A. Saperstein and architect K. Dmitriev developed a Hermitage bridge reorganization project. Eventually, it was suggested to remove lantern stands of the 19th century. The silhouette of the crossing stayed the same. The bridge became 22,1 m long and 15,2 m wide.
Perspective view on the Hermitage bridge. Photo is taken from the website
Speaking of the Hermitage bridge, it’s necessary to mention one artistic feature of its surrounding, that appeared already during the first decade of its existence. A unique and bright architectural landscape formulated there as a result of gradual changes of the complex looks. This complex includes the State Hermitage Museum. Obviously, the Hermitage bridge plays an important role in this design layout. Connecting the buildings of Old Hermitage and the Hermitage Theatre with an arch-shaped gallery crossing over the Winter Canal resulted in the creation of a wonderful perspective. You can see it by looking from the First Winter bridge along the canal.
Rounded arches of the bridge and the gallery harmonically contribute to each other’s looks, creating a very poetic line. This amazing architectural ensemble represents the cultural heritage of Russia that many artists, poets and decorators from all over the world get inspired by.
You can view the bridge all year round.
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