The Marble Bridge
In the Landscape Park (the Catherine Park), near the Great Pond, stand the Marble or Palladian Bridge, also known as the Siberian Marble Gallery. The bridge spans the narrow water course that links the Great Pond with several others dug in 1769–70. There was an archipelago of seven man-made islets here on which swans lived in small houses that were painted after drawings by Rinaldi. These islands and ponds bear the name “Swan” to this day.
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The prototypes for the Marble Bridge, which was built from a model made by Vasily Neyelov, were bridges in the English parks of Stowe and Wilton that followed a famous design of the celebrated architect Andrea Palladio.
In the early 1770s craftsmen at the Yekaterinburg Lapidary Works under the supervision of Valerio Tortori cut from local blue-grey Gornoshitsky and white Stanovsky marble columns, capitals, pedestals, balusters and other elements to the patterns provided. The panels to face the abutments of the bridge were made from grey-pink granite.
The foundations for the Marble Bridge were laid in 1773. In 1774 the bridge was assembled on site by Valerio Tortori and his assistants Ivanov, Grigoryev, Petrovsky and Shakhurin.
The Marble Bridge takes the form of a colonnade set on a granite base approached by flights of steps at either end. The large, shallow central arch of the bridge is flanked by small semicircular arches. The upper part consists of two square-based pavilions placed above the arched spans. The pavilions are linked by a colonnade of light, slender Ionic columns. The spaces between their pedestals are filled with balustrades with attractive balusters. There is a splendid view of the Turkish Bath, the Pyramid and the Red Cascade from the bridge.