The preceding bridge on the site was of wooden construction, built in the 1710s over the Lebedinka, a shallow watercourse flowing between the Moyka and Neva Rivers, at the point at which it entered the Neva. With the construction of the Swan Canal replacing the Lebedinka, the bridge continued to operate, until being replaced with a stone bridge in 1768. The bridge was alternately known as the Swan Bridge, the Stone Swan Bridge, and finally the Upper Swan Bridge, distinguishing it from the Lower Swan Bridge at the southern end of the canal at its juncture with the Moyka. Structural faults were identified as early as the mid-nineteenth century, but repairs were only carried out in the 1920s. These left the appearance of the bridge unaltered, and it still retains its original form. It has been designated an object of historical and cultural heritage of federal significance.
The Upper Swan Bridge is in Dvortsovy Municipal Okrug, part of the Tsentralny District of the city. It crosses the Swan Canal, one of the city's oldest, at the point at which the canal joins the Neva River, and carries Palace Embankment between the areas of the Field of Mars to the west, and the Summer Garden to the east. It comprises a single-span arched stone construction 12.5 m (41 ft) long and 14.9 m (49 ft) wide, and carries both foot and vehicle traffic. It is one of two bridges that currently span the Swan Canal, the other being the Lower Swan Bridge at the southern end of the canal at its juncture with the Moyka River. Despite several restorations, its appearance has remained almost unchanged from its construction in stone in 1768 to the present day. It is one of the oldest stone bridges in the city.