The exhibition, for instance, shows views normally accessible only for a few specialists, i.e. the view from the bottom of the Vltava, as there are photographs taken by Pavel Klier and his colleagues. It also displays objects fished out by the police divers.
Pontoon bridge? Yes, that’s a fact
One of the authors of the exhibition, historian Ondřej Šefců, came with a remarkable finding. When gathering material he found two regulations concerning Charles Bridge and its renovation after the flood in 1784. He found out that the alternative transport from April of that year until winter was probably led over a pontoon bridge, which was built approximately in place of today’s Mánesův Bridge. This can also be documented with an engraving from that time.
Unique photographs – food for thought
Also the collection of photographs presented at the exhibition is unique. Let´s mention for example photographs from the flood in 1890 but also those depicting trams on the bridge, etc. “When we were preparing the exhibition, we found out that it is photographs that are still a very much unexplored area and we will certainly continue to pursue this topic in the future,“ said another author of the exhibition, Pavla Stádníková. Some of the photographs will also be presented in a publication that is being prepared by the museum.
The presentation of Judith Bridge at the exhibition corresponds to our present knowledge of the bridge. There are interesting pictures from the 1940´s, where one can see the pillars of the bridge, which are normally hidden under water. The pictures were taken after the weirs had been broken and the water level had dropped. “Although we know about the pillars, no research has been carried out,“ pointed out Zdeněk Dragoun, co-author of the exhibition.
Flood and UNESCO listing anniversary
“This year, Prague celebrates the 20th anniversary since Prague Historical Reserve was added to the list of UNESCO heritage sites and the 10th anniversary of the largest modern-time flood. This is why we have prepared this exhibition, “ said the director of the museum Zuzana Strnadová. “It shows the latest information about the two important monuments of medieval architecture.“
Construction of the bridge
Visitors will also see three-dimensional exhibits, models of the key constructions of Charles Bridge and historical construction techniques, as well as original objects and stone elements from the parts of the bridge which were devastated. There is also historical diving technology, an outside exhibition of original stone blocks which in the past fell into the Vltava when the bridges were damaged by big floods. These were retrieved from the river bed during the most recent renovation works on Charles Bridge and on 13th June 2012, they were transported from Malá Strana river bank to Prague City Museum.
Advice to drivers – do not rely on anything!
Today, we could perhaps learn a lesson from the times, where there were no road regulations. However, the city regulation prohibited fast traffic and also changing lanes. Every coachman or postilion, regardless of his rank (no celebrities, VIPs or immunity applied) was to be arrested and put to a work prison – a prison where prisoners had to work, which at that time was located somewhere around today’s Palach Square.