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EMBANKMENT OF SMETANA

Old town - Prague 1

GPS: 50°5'3.12"N, 14°24'47.88"E

   The Old-Town Vltava’s embankment, which has been named in the honour of brilliant Czech musical composer Bedřich Smetana (1824 – 1884) at the present, reaches from the National Theatre to the Square of Knights of the Cross. After its origin it had been just called the Embankment, as it was the first one in Prague in such a form, later on it was called the Old-Town Embankment. During 1894-1919 it was given name of Franz, after the Austrian emperor Franz I, who ruled in the years 1792-1835. Since 1919-1940 it bore the name of Masaryk. During the Nazi occupation it was called the Vltava Embankment and during 1942-1945 only the German name of Reinhard-Heydrich-Ufer was effective. Then the name of Masaryk returned for seven years. In 1952 the Embankment was renamed to that of Smetana.
   Its construction was realized in connection with build-up of a chain bridge, the predecessor of the present Legion Bridge. Both of the activities were instigated by Karel Count Chotek and they were consigned to company of Vojtěch Lanna. Foundation stone for the bridge construction was laid on 21st April 1840. The Embankment should have been completed by the end of 1841. It consisted of two granite walls of hewn blocks; between them there was backfill and paving. Basement of the construction was formed by a pile sleeve. Due to the construction of the chain bridge and the embankment, all the houses, spas, mills and lands located there had to be purchased.
   After its completion the embankment became one of the most prominent Prague colonnades with a beautiful view. And it is the same nowadays. It is said that view from the Embankment of Smetana belongs among the most admired ones in the world. You can see there the river Vltava and its Old-Town weir, northern tips of Žofín and Střelecký Islands, green mass of Petřín Hill with gothic Hunger Wall, lookout tower, Nebozízek and funicular, island of Kampa with the Lichtenstein Palace and Sova’s Mills. But mainly the Foot-Bridge of Novotný, with the high tower of the former Old-Town water plant, the Charles Bridge with its sculptural gallery and towers, the Lesser Town with cupola of the Church of St Nicolas and the Prague Castle, surmounting the stone beauties.