Paris St. Petersburg

Alexander III Bridge, Paris
Trinity Bridge, St. Petersburg

uilt between 1897-1903, Trinity Bridge embodies the graceful elegance of a steel, granite and cast-iron design. French President Félix Faure, along with Nicholas II, poised its first stone on August 24th, 1897. With its ornate tri-globed lamps, the bridge reflects the aesthetics of the time and bears remarkable resemblance, both physically and conceptually, to another bridge completed in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century. Namely, the Alexander III Bridge, built between 1896-1900, sets the stage for "bridge-building" between France and Russia in the figurative, diplomatic sense: just a year before Faure’s arrival in Petersburg, in October of 1896, Nicholas II placed the bridge's first stone.

Click here to view an image of President Faure in Petersburg.

On May 16, 1903, during the Nedelia Petra, Petersburg’s bicentennial celebration, the Trinity Bridge was officially opened.

It is known that a submission by Gustave Eiffel took first prize in the first bridge design competition sponsored by the Petersburg Duma in 1891. This however, did not lead to the realization of Eiffel’s project. After the competition, a submission by the French group Les Batignolles began to attract the Duma’s attention. Les Batignolles had begun producing locomotives in the later part of the 1840s and, by 1852, had constructed its first metallic bridge in Asnières, a suburb of Paris. Towards the turn of the twentieth century, it looked to building bridges outside of France. More economical and technically superior to its previous contenders, the Batignolles project was contracted by the Petersburg Duma after a second design competition.

Although borne of French engineering, the bridge was built with Russian brawn and materials. Even the Petersburg Academy of Arts, including one of its leading Franco-Russian figures, Nikolay Leontivich Benois, participated in its completion.

Click here to learn more about the Trinity Bridge as a node in the network of early Petersburg tram cars.