Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Monumental Bridges of the Czech Republic

To commemorate the monumental bridges has been built in the Czech Republic, the special stamp feature that structure has been issued by the Czech Postal Administration on October 20, 2010. The stamp set comprised of two stamps depict the Stone Bridge in Pisek and The Cable stayed bridge-Mariansky Bridge.

The Stone Bridge in Písek (also known as the Stag Bridge) is the oldest still standing stone bridge in Bohemia.
The bridge, spanning the Otava river, was the second stone bridge in Bohemia (after the already not existing Judith bridge in Prague). As one of the few medieval bridges, still standing and used in Central Europe, the stone bridge is a unique rarity. 

The exact date of its building is unknown, but the style is gothic. It was first mentioned in writing in 1348 when Charles IV ordered the town councillors to use fines collected in the town for maintenance of the bridge. A couple of gates with towers protected the bridge as well as the present historic town centre on either side.
The left-hand tower was destroyed by the flood of 1768, the other one succumbed to wear and tear in 1825. The bridge is adorned by copies of the original, mostly 18th century baroque sculptures and the Cavalry. The 6.5m wide structure, slightly bulging up the river, consists of six arches spanning 111 metres, built on pillars with an upward save edge. The normal height above the water level is 5.5m.

Cable-stayed bridge - Mariánský Bridge in Ústí nad Labem, designed by the renowned architecture studio Roman Koucký, is one of the most distinctive and disputed projects built in the post-November 1989 Czech Republic. 
Finally  the city councillors decided to place it under the Mariánská Rock, a site best suited for the bridge's main role, i.e. combining the city's three quarters - the city centre, Krásné Březno on the left bank and Střekov on the right bank of the Labe river. 

The 70m high bridge was built in 1993 to 1998 and became the city's new dominant. The height is not the only feature attracting the attention of people: the impossible-to-overlook system of steel cables suspending the 170m long bridge is similarly provoking. The architect designed the number of cables, the height and shape of the pylon not only with respect to static but also to his artistic visions.
For instance, the height of the pylon was to counterbalance the Mariánská Rock on the other side of the river. It also matches the height of the tower of the gothic church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary nearby. 

According to the Structural Engineering International (SEI), quarterly Journal of the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE), it is one of the ten most beautiful 1990s world buildings.
It has also become the most expensive local project in the area of transport infrastructure since 1948, financed by a city. The city had to postpone the project of reconstruction of the Mírové Square and other projects. 

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