Illustrated Description Of Russia

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Cast-Iron Bridge across the Neva

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The iron bridge was built as late as 1850, and is a beautiful embellishment to the city. It being the first permanent structure ever thrown across the Neva, deserves more than a passing mention. The building of it was an engineering work of great difficulty; the unstable nature of the mud-bed of the river having thitherto been an insurmountable obstacle to the very necessary formation of a permanent communication between these two portions of the city. This was, however, effected by driving piles into the river-bed, and filling up the interstices with stones. Thus a solid foundation was obtained to support the weight of the granite piers, and to resist the pressure of the vast and rapid volume of water which, by the contraction of the river, has here a depth of thirty feet. The entire length of the bridge is about eleven hundred feet, the centre arch being one hundred and fifty-six feet span. The arches at one extremity rest on a massive pier constructed at one hundred feet from the northern shore, w ith wh ich it is connected' by two bridges moving on pivots, to allow the craft to pass up and down the river.

The bridge was completed on the 21st of November, and was opened by the emperor in person, after the priests had performed the ceremony of consecration, &c. In the accompanying view the artist has shown the bridge during the act of consecration. With the broad and lofty buildings on the quay, it forms a very effective coup d'eil. It is remarkable that this day was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the accession of Nicholas to the throne — a day considered fatal to Russian monarchs — and yet his confidence was so great, that he ventured without an escort, and attended only by his staff, who were almost immediately separated from him by the throng; not a soldier was to be seen in the neighborhood.

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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855