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CZ: Prague - Prague Bridges II. - Palacký Bridge

Published: 20.1.2012
What is the story of the famous Prague's bridge, named after one of the most important Czech personality?

Palacký Bridge connects the Nové Město to Smíchov, is designed for automotive and tramway traffic, but also for pedestrians. It is the fifth bridge over the Vltava downstream, located between Vyšehrad railway bridge from 1871 and Jirásek bridge from 1933. It was built because of the development of industrial Smíchov Pilsen as a continuation of streets between 1876-1878 according to the project engineer and architect J. Reiter B. Münzbergra (author of the Industrial Palace at the Exhibition), the German firm of Klein Brothers Vienna, Schmoll and Gärtner. Originally, the bridge named "Stone Bridge from Prague to Smichov", soon got a name in the Czech revivalist Palacký only during the German occupation of the bridge named Mozart. Palacky Bridge connects Palacký Square and the waterfront edge Rašínovým Podskali Smichov and the blade (Lidická and Plzeňská streeet). Palacký Square is located in the historical part of Prague 2 called old Podskali, which began to take shape after the floods in 1845. In places that flooded Vltava was artificially increased terrain and built solid stone walls that have protected the inhabitants of Prague from the destructive element. The resulting new square was named after the F. Palacký.

Palacky Bridge was built in Renaissance style, its length is 228,8 m. A width of 13,9 m. The bridge was originally much narrower - 7,74 m, at the time though was the widest bridge in Prague, but at the very beginning it was clear that this width is not sufficient, so in the years 1950-51 has been extended at both ends. The bridge is divided into seven segmental arches in the range of 27,2 - 32 m, made ​​of granite blocks. Originally the vault was made of blue granite facade of red sandstone and skittles railing of white marble - the colours of the tricolour.

The input was the most decorated sandstone statues by Josef Václav Myslbek, depicting themes from Czech mythology - Záboj and Slavoj, Lumír and song, Ctirad and Šárka, and Přemysl and Libuše. During the war in 1945, when raids were heavily damaged statues and after recovery were transferred to Vyšehrad. They were also removed Tower Bridge, where tolls were collected, and remained only the heraldic decoration. The tops of the arches are 14 coats of arms of cities, located on the Vltava and Elbe, by sculptor B. Schnirch: Rosenberg, the Vltava, Český Krumlov, České Budějovice, Týn nad Vltavou, Zbraslav, Vyšehrad, Smíchov, Mělnik, Roudnice, Litoměřice, Ústí nad Labem and Děčín.

During construction of the bridge were first used in Prague caissons for the foundation pillars. Caissons are iron boxes on the same floor plan, which has a bridge pillar. Air pressure in the caisson is the same as in water and therefore it is possible to move without special spacesuit, which allows faster work. Caisson slowly (about 24 cm per day) decreases its own weight into the pit, and when the proper depth or bedrock, filled with concrete and becomes a carrier of the pillar. Each caisson weighed about 53 tons.

Originally the bridge was commissioned track horse track, and later, in 1900, there began to ride trams and cars ran on one side in one direction. In the years 1950-1951 was extended deck and the original stone consoles were replaced with reinforced concrete. Remained preserved only conical balustrade with stone lintels.

Palacký bridge once passed the Albert Einstein, because in 1911-1912 lived in nearby Forest Street, where a plaque was unveiled to 100 anniversary of his birth.

Text/photo: Maxim Kucer

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