New Prague bridge to greatly ease connection between Holešovice and Karlín
A long-awaited new pedestrian bridge connecting Prague’s districts of Holešovice and Karlín officially opened to the public on Friday. The Štvanice footbridge is named after the island it crosses, but it is also referred to as HolKa, girl in Czech, after the two districts it connects.
The minimalist footbridge spanning the Vltava River from Holešovice and Karlín was designed by architects Petr Tej, Marek Blank and Jan Mourek. It is made of special concrete, resembling marble, which has excellent mechanical properties. It is durable, frost-resistant, and has a high-quality surface which prevents water from leaking in, one of its authors, Petr Tej, told Radio Prague International:
“The structure should last 200 years without any maintenance. The other special feature is its seamless connection with the Bubny Embankment. The last part can be vertically raised. There is a hydraulic mechanism in the pillar in Holešovice that allows the whole footbridge to be raised by three metres in the event of a flood.”
The construction of Prague’s 19th bridge has been debated since 1999, but work on it only began in January 2022, following an architectural competition five years earlier. It was initially due to open earlier this year but the date was pushed back due to technical reasons.
Getting from Holešovice to Karlín, which previously required a lengthy journey by public transport will now only take a few minutes. According to architect Petr Tej, the bridge will play a key role in Prague’s infrastructure:
“At the moment the Bubny Embankment in Holešovice is undergoing reconstruction and so is the Holešovice market. At the same time, there is a large construction development underway in Karlín, so the connection between the two districts is absolutely crucial. At the same time, the ramp to Štvanice will allow pedestrians from both districts to access the island easily.”
The last bridge over the Vltava River opened in Prague’s Trója in October 2014. In 2020, Prague City Hall opened a new footbridge over the Vltava in Troja to replace one that collapsed in 2017. But, according to Petr Tej, the Czech capital needs more bridges to be built:
“I certainly think that the district of Suchdol needs a new bridge. There is a new bridge being constructed now between Smíchov and Podolí, the Dvorce Bridge. The Intelligence Bridge further down the river definitely requires a major overhaul. As far as footbridges are concerned, it would certainly be worth connecting several islands in Prague, such as the Children’s Island, which are hard to access for pedestrians.”
To celebrate the opening of the new Štvanice footbridge, the summer beer gardens located at Prague Market in Holešovice, on Štvanice Island, and in Karlín have organised a joint event, which includes music and free beers.
A new bridge connecting the districts of Prague 4 and 5 could be named after the recently deceased Prague-born US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.