The Imperiia Project: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

What seven millions rubles bought in 1914

Contemporary observers wrote excitedly about the Alexander Bridge. Which makes sense. The bridge was 1.5 versts in length, making it the longest such bridge in all of Europe, and it cost some seven million rubles to build. Construction began in 1876 and ended in 1880. Much of the rock came from the Zhigulev Hills, just upriver. 

And then there is this: In 1914, the bridge was the only thing the connected the rail lines of European Russia to those leading to Turkestan, Siberia, and eventually to the Pacific coast.

It was extraordinary.

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