Will Prague Restore Original Fire and Water Effects on Čechův Bridge?

This spring, preparations began for the revival of the Čechův Bridge, which awaits the reconstruction of extensive festive lighting in the following years to come.

In addition, the restoration of the original effects system is being considered. The three-headed dragon hydra statues, which are placed on four pillars, should spew water and the light carriers should hold torches with burning flames.

The municipal company Technologie hlavního města Prahy (THMP) is in charge of the project. The revival of the states on Prague’s shortest road bridge is supposed to reflect a return to the old days.

According to surviving information, it seems that the statues should have been fitted with water and gas pipes in the past.

On April 13, THMP conducted a camera survey of the statues to verify what extent of the plan was actually implemented. Only after the camera survey and after the evaluation of the archive records can it be determined what effects the predecessor’s original intentions were and whether it is appropriate to consider their restoration.

“We used cameras to look inside the statues. Based on this, we will determine the scope of restoration work, which may allow the installation of technological water and gas distribution,” said Jílek.

“Design work for the elaboration of the project documentation for the restoration of festive lighting and effects systems and a debate with the preservation authorities will follow, and only then will it be possible to determine the date when this unusual spectacle on the Vltava can be expected,” he added.

The entire lighting, gas start-up, and ignition system, as well as pressurized water control, will be equipped with its own control and the possibility of remote monitoring and control from the THMP headquarters.

“The revitalization of the festive and effect equipment will underline its aesthetic perception and the panorama of the bridge will be even more impressive. At the same time, it will remind Praguers of the time when the first steel bridge over the Vltava was built,” said Prague councilor Jan Chabr (TOP 09).

Čechův Bridge is the tenth and the shortest bridge over the Vltava River. The bridge was built between 1905 – 1908 by engineers  Jiří Soukup, Václav Trča, František Mencl and architect Jan Koula.

Originally, it was a part of the project creating the Prague inner ring road. Construction of the bridge was also connected with the clearance of the old Jewish ghetto.

The bridge is remarkable in that it is the only Art Nouveau bridge construction in the Czech Republic that reaches such proportions. It is most noteworthy for its unique artistic decoration. The tops of the columns are decorated with 4 bronze sculptures by Antonín Popp. Each column bears figures of genii.

The bridge was named after a Czech writer, journalist, and poet Svatopluk Čech, who is probably best known for a satirical novel series of The Excursions of Mr. Brouček of which some were used of Leoš Janáček operas.

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