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THE BRIDGE OF HLÁVKA

GPS: 50°5'44.88"N, 14°26'12.84"E

The Bridge of Hlávka, which replaced the previous wooden bridge, had been constructed in two stages, within 1909 – 1912, as an important road especially to the Central Slaughter in Holešovice. The new bridge, including pavements 16,80 m wide and 297,4 m long in total, spanned over two branches of Vltava and Island of Štvanice. Shorter part of the bridge from Těšnov to the mentioned Island was constructed, according to the design by ing. Jiří Soukup, of steel. Mečislav Petrů co-operated in architecture of this part of the bridge. The other, longer part of the bridge, partially above the Island of Štvanice and above the river, was of concrete. This section of the bridge was designed by ing. František Mencl and arch. Pavel Janák. The parts, different in construction, were results of a compromise between supporters of steel bridge structure and followers of modern concrete structures. Load test of the bridge was carried out on 3rd and 6th February 1912.

Big attention was paid to the art decoration of the new bridge. Above the head of island pillars there are reliefs 2,65 m high, whose authors were followers of Josef Václav Myslbek, on the water side there was sculptor Bohumil Kafka and on the opposite side there was Ladislav Kofránek. Medallions suspended in the pendentives of the main arch represent twelve portraits of town-hall representative of that time, which were involved in the bridge construction. Their authors are sculptors Otto Gutfreund and Josef Mařatka. However, the dominant features are large-size sculptures by sculptor Jana Štursa, called „Labour“ and „Humanity“ placed in the beginning of the bridge in the side of Holešovice.

In 1958-1962 the bridge was extended to double-size to satisfy the planned route of trunk road. Unfortunately some art pieces have been hidden between the two bridge parts in doing so. On this occasion the part of steel bridge structure, between the Island of Štvanice and Tišnov, was replaced with reinforced-concrete structure. Function of tram traffic has been kept. During the whole period of its existence the bridge is named after Czech architect and great benefactor Josef Hlávka (1831-1908).