Prague’s iconic Nusle Bridge built 50 years ago
Nusle Bridge, connecting Pankrác plain with Prague’s Karlov, is one of the key transport structures in the city. Over 160,000 cars cross it every day, while 750 metro trains pass through a tunnel inside it.
The first idea to span the Nusle valley dates back to the end of the 19th century. However, it was not until the turn of the 1960s that an architectural competition was organised.
The authors of the winning design were architects Vojtěch Michálek, Stanislav Hubička and Svatopluk Kobra. The opening of the 485-metre-long bridge took place on 22 February 1973.
Looking at the bridge from below, you get a really stunning view of the structure. It is 26.5 metres wide with the longest span measuring 115.5 metres. Its height is 42.5 metres and it is supported by four pillars.
The “suicide bridge”
The bridge gained a negative reputation in its early days, because it became a magnet for suicides. The one-metre railings were not difficult to cross and over the years, around 350 people leapt to their death from the bridge. In 1990 a safety net was stretched under the railing, and but it didn’t make much difference. Only the installation of an overarching metal strip finally prevented further suicides.
In 2000, the Nusle Bridge was named Structure of the Century in the Transportation Structures category.