by Volha Kavalenkava © 2015
View of the Palacký Bridge over the Vltava River in Prague, the historic capital of the Czech Republic. The bridge is named after Czech politician František Palacký (1798–1876), who led Czech nationalist aspirations within the Austrian Empire during and after the wave of nationalist revolutions that swept Europe in 1848.
It’s 229 metres long, comparable with the length of the bridges over the Thames in London. Nevertheless, at the time of its opening in 1876 the Palacký Bridge was only Prague’s third major bridge across the Vltava, along with the 14th-century Charles Bridge and the Franz Joseph Bridge which had opened just eight years previously. There were 15 bridges across the Thames in Central London from Battersea to London Bridge by then. But the Vltava is a fast-running river (the name is believed to come from the Old Germanic wilt ahwa, meaning “wild water”), which would have made it difficult and expensive to bridge using earlier engineering methods.
The Franz Joseph Bridge was bombed in 1941, demolished in 1947 and replaced in 1951 with a new bridge, the Šverma Bridge. It had British links: it was a suspension bridge designed by British architect Rowland Mason Ordish along the lines he later used for the Albert Bridge in London.