The fascination with China that characterized the period around the turn of the nineteenth century is reflected not only in the pavilions of the Alexander Park, but also in three bridges in the New Garden that span the Krestovy Canal – the Dragon, Large Chinese and Krestovy Bridges.
The Dragon Bridge, referred to in late eighteenth-century documents as “the bridge with monstrous figures”, was constructed close to the Chinese Theatre in 1785 to the design of Charles Cameron. It is adorned by four striking figures of winged dragons placed on granite pedestals. The dragons are highly expressive, with their paws stretched out in front and their tails twisted into tight loops. Originally, in Catherine II’s reign when the bridge was built, the figures were made from limestone; the present iron dragons were cast in 1860 from models made by the sculptor Johann Schwarz.