The Small Chinese Bridges
To the west of the Krestovy Bridge stand two Small Chinese Bridges that lead to the Chinese Village.
Originally these bridges, built to Cameron’s design in 1781, were wooden: columns placed at the start of the bridges supported curving roofs painted in imitation of fish scales. A dozen gilded sheet-metal weathervanes were placed on the roofs. The shafts of the columns were embellished with painting in the form of flower garlands, while the ceiling, the ends of the roofs and the railings were decorated “in the Chinese manner”. In 1786 the old bridges were replaced by metal ones produced at the Sestroretsk arms factories. The production of them was supervised by the architect Karl Speckle.
Very similar in composition, the bridges differ in details. Their abutments are faced with granite; the figured iron handrails are set into cast-iron pedestals crowned by decorative vases. The bridges acquire their Chinese character from porticos of paired columns with elaborately shaped sheet-iron roofs. The columns of one bridge are embellished with relief ornament; the shafts of the columns on the other were painted with a pattern of foliage that is now completely lost. The roofs above the porticos are crowned with bouquets and Chinese umbrellas. A major role in the decoration of the bridges was played by polychrome painting depicting Chinese people and dragons.
The Small Chinese Bridges were restored to their historic look in 2009.
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