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Písek - Sightseeing

A stroll through the city

Stone Bridge

Písek - Kamenný most (Stone Bridge) was built in the third quarter of the 13th century. The first written record of it dates back to 1348, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Now we have reached the Otava River, and we find ourselves before the best-known and most important monument in Písek, the Stone Bridge, officially named "Kamenný Most" since 2007. It was built before the end of the 13th century, making this the oldest bridge in the Czech Republic (older than Prague's Charles Bridge) and likely the second oldest bridge in Central Europe (only the stone bridge in Regensburg is older, from 1135 to 1146). The Písek bridge used to be an important link in the Gold salt route which crossed the Otava at this site.

Písek - Die Steinbrücke von Písek wird üblicherweise die alte Brücke genannt, sie bekam aber auch den Beinamen Hirschbrücke, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The structure is 110 meters long and 6.25 meters wide, is held by seven arches, and gives the impression of a "small" Charles Bridge. Six arches are original, but the seventh is from 1768 and is double the normal width; it served for the passage of rafts. Six bridge pillars were built in the Middle Ages on dry ground; the builders built construction pits out of protective walls so that the water could flow around. It's a pity that the two towers that guarded the entrance to the bridge on both sides haven't survived. The first fell victim to the great flood of 1768 (the poor watchman is said to have been washed away with the tower), while the second tower didn't suit the growing demands of transportation and was mercilessly demolished in 1825.

Písek - the south side of the Stone Bridge is ornamented by a statue of St. Anne of Samothrace from 1770, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.The decorative Baroque sculptures lining the bridge are worth noting – these are replicas, and the sandstone originals can be seen in the Prácheň Museum. The bridge has been exposed to the onslaught of floods several times throughout the centuries, for example in 1432 and 1768. The most demanding test was evidently the "thousand year flood" of 2002, when the Otava water level rose so high that it tore off a stone wall. Despite the current's fifty-fold increase in force, however, the bridge itself withstood the flood.

Left bank of the Otava River

Standing on the bridge and looking upstream, we can see a striking complex of colourful modern buildings on the left bank. This is the original work of architect Tomáš Trávníček and was completed in 1999. This ambitious project divided the opinions of the lay and professional public at first, but this "Titanic" of Písek, evoking the image of a long narrow boat with extensions, has now become an inseparable part of the banks of the Otava.

Písek - Left bank of the Otava River, photo by: Archiv Vydavatelství MCU s.r.o.Just past the Stone Bridge, we turn left and walk upstream along the new bicycle and walking path. Look back over your shoulder to enjoy a nice view of the bridge on its pillars and arches, the wing of the castle and Prácheň Museum on the opposite bank of the Otava, and the massive Malthouse with its characteristic greenish façade. We gradually come to where the river is split by a weir with a sluice. There is a well-known novel by Czech writer Fráňa Šrámek that was likely inspired by this very sluice. On the other side of the weir, notice the hydroelectric plant.