125 Years Ago Charles Bridge Reopened After Historic Flood

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Prague Morning

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125 years ago today Charles Bridge was officially reopened after arches were swept away by flood.

The damage done to Charles Bridge at the end of the 19th century was described by a contemporary newspaper as the worst catastrophe to ever visit Prague, after the 1881 burning down of the National Theatre. At four o'clock on the morning of September 3, 1890, cannons were fired from Vysehrad, warning citizens of Prague of the coming floods; the river was already two meters higher than its usual level, and rising. 

In the end, three arches of Charles Bridge were swept away. Along with the fifth pillar on the Old town Side of the bridge, valuable statues of St Ignatius Loyola and St Francis Xavier also disappeared into the Vltava. 

The repair of the Charles Bridge after the flood of 1890 took a lot of manpower and a lot of time. Dynamite had to be used, as well as steam-powered machines. It was fourteen years before the bridge was finished and open for business again.

When it was built, Charles Bridge had only one ornament - large wooden cross. In 17th century wooden cross was replaced with a bronze one.

The first statue added was a statue of St. John of Nepomuk in 1683. He was thrown from the Charles Bridge into water on 20 March 1393 by King Wenceslaus and canonized in 18th century.

Author: red


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