Česká centra, Czech Centres

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10 Jul 2007 00:00 - 21 Jul 2007 00:00

Jan Kaplan: The most beautiful bridge in the world

An exhibition of photographs by an award-winning documentary film maker and a Prague historian, Jan Kaplan.


The most beautiful bridge in the world is what the experts call Prague's Charles Bridge. This Gothic structure, adorned with an unique open-air gallery of baroque sculptures, creates a harmony of two distinct periods, an integrated whole set against the unrivalled backdrop of Prague Castle, the Little Quarter and the Old Town.


The foundation stone of the bridge was laid by King Charles IV in 1357, on the 9th of July at 31 minutes past 5. Why so exactly timed? The date wasn't picked by chance. On that day the Sun was in conjunction with Saturn, and that, according to medieval astrology, was the most auspicious moment of the year, when the unfavorable influence of Saturn is overpowered by the action of the Sun. The magic of odd numbers also played a part: the date written out in full gives a symmetrical rise and fall to the sequence, beginning with the year:


            1357 / 9 / 7 / 5 / 31


Hard to say from what terrible disasters this magic formula has protected Charles Bridge. What is certain is that it survives attacks from all the elements, most recently during the 2002 flood.


The bridge is the work of the famous architect Petr Parléř (1332-1399). It is 516 meters long, 9.5 wide and rests on 16 arches. It was in use from 1383 but was not completed until early in the 15th century. It began to be called Charles Bridge in 1870, before that it was known as the "Prague" or the "stone" bridge.


Endlessly reproduced in engravings, paintings, sketches and urban landscapes, it was one of the first Prague monuments to be captured on a panoramic photograph – and photography further extended its fame.





Jan Kaplan, author of the photographs, is an award-winning documentary film maker and a notable Prague historian who has lived in Britain since 1968. He has co-authored several books including Prague in the Shadow of the Swastika; Prague; The Turbulent Century and A Traveller’s Companion to Prague. Among his many documentary film productions he has co-directed the Channel 4 series In Search of Holy England and The Assassination of Reinhard Heydrich shown in the BBC's Timewatch series.



The exhibition is organized by CzechTourism London in association with the Czech Centre London and supported by the Czech Embassy in London.






30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom


From: 10 Jul 2007 00:00
To: 21 Jul 2007 00:00


Czech Tourism London, Czech Centre, Czech Embassy London

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