Received: 12th November 2012 Distance: 2107 km (1,309 miles) Travel time: 17 days.
Thank you, Alex from Russia!
Bank Bridge is a 25-m-long pedestrian bridge crossing the Griboedov Canal near the former Assignation Bank in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Like other bridges across the canal, the existing structure dates from 1826. The bridge engineer was Wilhelm von Traitteur, who conceived of a pedestrian separation structure suspended by cables. He was an engineer who also built other bridges over the Griboyedov Canal, Fontanka and Moika. The general management of the bridge construction was carried out by colonel E. A. Adam.
The special popularity of the bridge was gained through angular sculptures of four griffins crowning the abutments. They were designed by sculptor Pavel Sokolov (1764-1835), who also contributed lions for Bridge of Lions and sphinxes for Egyptian Bridge. The bridge is in front of the former Assignation Bank building (now housing the Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance). As griffins in mythology are the guards of treasure, the lions with eagle wings in front of the Assignation Bank were to watch the gold reserves of the Russian state.
There is a legend still propagated among the citizens that if you rub a griffin’s paw, you will inevitably make a fortune.
The bridge underwent numerous repairs and restorations, as well as structural modifications. In 1949 the wooden cover of the bridge was repaired, and later in 1951—1952 the wooden bearing structure of the bridge was replaced by a metal one. In 1967 and 1988 the gilding of the griffins’ wings was renovated. In 1997 the sculptures and handrail lattice were restored. In 2007-2008 Griboyedov Canal Embankment from Kazan Cathedral to the Bank Bridge was renovated. Nowadays the griffins are the symbol of St. Petersburg University of Economics and Finance.