Vltava river and bridges, Prague
There quite a few river cruises you can choose from, apart from those regular ones such as one-hour or two-hour trips or lunch and dinner cruises, there are other possibilities, for instance a private trip on a rented boat or taking a sightseeing cruise round Prague Venice in Italian gondolas.
A Prague river cruise through the heart of the city is the most relaxing way to discover the sights, as many of the well-known Prague attractions border the river. You can even enjoy them over a delicious meal and dance to the tunes of a live jazz band ... :)
There are several bridges on Vltava River as like "Charles Bridge", "Cechuv Bridge", "Manes Bridge", "Legion Bridge" and others ...
Does not matter winter of summer, its an amazing view of the river combining the bridges and to have a walk ...
Besides, you can also join a "boat tour" to see the bridges and the river more closer ... :)
Legion Bridge (Most Legii), across the Vltava River, was built in 1901 and opened by Emperor Franz Joseph. The bridge is connecting the Old Town with Ujezd and Mala Strana. The bridge is named after the Czechoslovakia legions that formed during World War I. The bridge is long around 350 meters and is divided by elliptical arches.
Prague has lots of bridges across the River Vltava, all of them different and interesting. The last bridge I came across, had Copper domed Turrets sitting near the end of a nine span old stone bridge, built between 1898 & 1901. These Turrets were once used as Toll booths.
The bridge was named after the first emperor of Austria, Franz I, then after the fall of Austro-Hungary, it was re-named in honour of the Czechoslovakian legions. This wasn't the end of re-naming, it was changed again under Nazi occupation to Smetana. During communist times, it was known as the 'First of May Bridge' to reflect international workers' day, NOW it is known as the Bridge of the Legions.
I hope they are satisfied with the name now!!!
As we cruise back, it is a chance to see some new sights we missed on the way up.
As with most cities, enormous Government buildings line the bank of the River Vltava. Some have statues and others, lovely gardens. I see another building with decoration, only I don't know who it belongs to. The Kafka Museum is right on the Rivers edge, no time to go there though!
And so our 1 hour cruise comes to an end. We enjoyed the cruise, saw a lot of sights we would not have seen, and our legs were rested and ready for more walking.
Do be aware that different Cruise companies may take you further, or in a different direction, so if you particularly wan't to see something, make sure you take the correct company!
Price in 2013 for this cruise was.....Adults 240czk
Now we are going past old Štvanice Island, it has been around since 1118! Back then it was known as the "great island," then later "great venice" because of the surrounding smaller islands.
The Island used to have gardens and lots of trees, these were chopped down in the 18th century.
Today’s name is derived from the popular entertainment organized here for the Prague public in a round wooden arena with amphitheatre auditorium. This was chasing = [štvanice] bulls, deer, boars and having animal fights, thank-goodness they were banned for good in 1816. The Island was a very popular place for Pragues citizens to come for walks, perhaps to see some form of entertainment, or to enjoy a dance, then to have dinner at one of the many Restaurants and return home.
The island is now owned by the City of Prague. What looked to be the nicest building on the Island was a small power station.
This is as far as we went. The Boat was turned around, and we head back the way we came, especially enjoying wonderful views of Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral.
What a surprise it was to see a large red & white Boat tethered on the Vltava River and being used as cheap accommodation. It is the 3* Albatros Botel which offers budget and a little bit better accommodation.
Since being home, I have checked out the website, and from the photo's I have seen of the inside, it looks pretty good!
The position is good and so are the views!
We are now coming to a part of the Vltava River where lots of boats are moored. Most of them look to be large Tourist Boats, I guess not needed in the quiet time of the year.
What I really enjoyed on the cruise, was sitting back and watching all the different style of boats passing by. People would wave, and we would wave back, altogether, this was a fun part of the cruise!
Beside the Chec bridge, is a rather unassuming round building known as the Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, dating from 1635. This little Chapel hasn't always called here home! In 1956, the whole building was moved over 30 metres upstream, the first architectural relocation of its kind in the Czech Republic.
Towards the end of the 30 Years War, Swedish troops used the chapel as a stronghold, from which to fire upon Prague students defending the Old Town.
Today, it is a working Catholic Church.
Next door to the chapel, is the Municipal Bathing-pool, built in 1840.
Doing a cruise along the Vltava River, made me realize just how many Bridges there were, and just how close together they were.
We had just passed under Mánes Bridge and were now about to pass under the shortest bridge on the river known as Èech Bridge. The bridge was built in Art Nouveau style between 1905 – 1908 and is named after the great Czech poet and writer - Svatopluk Èech.
The bridge was supposed to become a part of a magnificent path leading to Prague Castle, this didn't fully eventuate.
The Bridge is known for using a new style known as Secession. The pavements were of chessboards and fish, created in three different colours, and the roadway made from a strong Australian wood [Jarrah] - this lasted until 1961 when it was replaced by bitumen.
This would be my favorite Bridge for viewing from river level, as from the boat, I had a marvellous view of the sculptures, they were very different!
There are two, 3 metre high, statues of Victory on each end of the bridge, holding gold-plated sprigs, placed on 17.5 m high cast-iron pillars, once used as booths for toll collections. On the river piers, there are bronze statues of light bearers with torches, and then there is the bronze six-headed hydras with Prague emblems on the gridirons from water, I loved these!
The Bridge has many decorations, including the lamps, decorated by ram heads and figures of rafters, water bearers, etc, and don't forget the lovely balustrade.
It's the only Art Nouveau style bridge in the Czech Republic it is protected by state. Trams, Cars and Pedestrians all use the bridge.
As we cruised along near Mánes Bridge, I saw a cute small building situated right on the River Vltava's edge. The building looked historical, and that it may have been associated with water traffic, as behind it was a red & white beacon.
All I know, is now it belongs to an association known as "Gemini o.s." = Association of Children, Youth and Adults.
You can find the location of google maps.
If anyone has information on this building, could you please let me know!
Slowing we are moving along the Vltava river, seeing many marvelous buildings.
Next to Manes Bridge, there is a huge floating Restaurant, what a nice place to enjoy a meal.
The view from the River of it was excellent, as was the view of the details on the roof of the Rudolfinum, I thought much nicer than on land.
After passing under Charles Bridge, it isn't long before we come to another, this is Mánes Bridge.
The Bridge was named after 19th century painter Josef Mánes. Manes painted the images of the 12 months that were added to the Prague Astronomical Clock in 1870.
It is fairy new when compared to other Bridges, as it was built between 1911- 1916, in place of an old ferry system that connected a fishing village.
The Bridge has four arches, and is built in a design that represents Czech Cubism. On both sides there are little fountains with gargoyles and on the Lesser Town side you can see the Prague coat of arms. I didn't walk across this Bridge, but read brass statues of Czech composers are being gradually installed on it. This Bridge is in the three national colours.
By travelling by boat on the River, I could see the friezes of famous Vltava swimmers on the pillars, something you may miss when walking or riding across the Bridge.
The Bridge connects Jan Palach Square to Klárov on Malá Strana, and is used by cars, pedestrians and trams.
Before we pass under the Charles Bridge, the Captain takes us close to a waterside building - Lichtenštejnský (Liechtenstein) Palace. There are two Palaces by this name in Prague, the other in Lesser Town square which I have already reviewed.
This Palace dates from 1555. In the 18th century, there were 18 rooms plus another 7 for servants and three stables and 22 Horses. In 1864, the second storey was added, the Baroque facade was replaced by a Neo-Renaissance one, leaving the columned entry portal and the balcony with a balustrade as original. A third floor was added after the Lichtenstein family sold the property in the 1860s.
Between1940 to 1945, it was the headquarters of the occupying Nazi forces, and in 1978 it became the property of the legislative body of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
During the last 30 years, floods have devasted the building meaning it has been restored many times. The Palace is now used for official Government functions and has seen some very important visitors, like King Juan Carlos of Spain, Queen Elizabeth II, and Emperor Akihito of Japan.
You may recognize it, if you have seen the film, "Mission Impossible," as it was used as the American Embassy in Tom Cruise's 1996 film.
The website has information and photo's of the inside of the Palace
After walking for most of the day, we were feeling pretty tired and wondering what to do, when we came across a ticket seller by the Lesser town Bridge Tower, selling River boat tours.
We both had the same idea, a good way to rest the legs! We were told we could catch a Boat at a certain time, which meant no waiting. We hurried to the dock to find the Boat had just left. Disappointed, we sat at one of the table & chairs and enjoyed a drink, compliments of the Boat company, of which I can't remember the name!
A Boat arrived and unloaded, then we hopped on and were soon on our way.
There was plenty of room, so we sat on the top deck on a lovely sunny day and enjoyed the views.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, we learnt about Prague, and rested our legs!
There were many Boats plying the River, most with hardly any passengers because of the season. For us, it was a good way to see a little more without walking!
The cost for the tour was in 2013
I will in my future tips, take you, my virtual friend, on this trip with me, to see the sights and to enjoy the breeze blowing your hair!