Historical river area renewed and restored

Eighty kilometres to the south of Prague is the Central Bohemian town of Písek, home to the country’s oldest stone bridge crossing the river Otava. After years of neglect compounded by the floods that hit in August 2002, the area surrounding the river was left in desperate need of renovation and, importantly, of restoration.

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A once neglected riverside becomes a haven for recreation A once neglected riverside becomes a haven for recreation

“The moment when our project was granted the funding from the EU proved to be one of the brightest moments in the recent history of our town.”
Luboš Průša, the former Mayor who was in office when the project was under way

From Písek’s stone bridge to the Putim gate, the area has been completely revitalised using funding received from the EU and the Czech government. The project has transformed the place into a popular walking destination and recreation area, now playfully sporting the name of ‘Europromenade’.

Renewing the old

The project consisted of completely renovating the sewage system, resulting in a much cleaner environment for Písek’s 29 000 residents. What was formerly a pot-holed footpath is now a pleasant walkway, newly laid with traditional stone slabs. And, the weeds and rubbish which previously covered the Royal Castle’s 13th Century moat have been removed and the ground has been turned into a vibrant park, open to the public after 164 years.

Buildings on the verge of collapse have also been refurbished. The former Malthouse, a forgotten industrial landmark where barley grains for making beer were soaked in water and dried, has been fully renovated after lying empty since 1973. The original wooden structures have been refurbished and the building is now used for cultural and social events. Concerts, seminars, workshops and temporary exhibitions are all now housed in the complex’s six purpose-built halls.

Children are drawn to the Malthouse for its permanent exhibition showing fairy tale illustrations and giving them the opportunity to try out a string of interactive games.

Fit for tourists

The splendid views along both sides of the River Otava can now be enjoyed by all, without the eyesore of run-down buildings and neglected land. In addition to the medieval stone bridge, visitors also get views of the historical hydroelectric power station built by the Czech electrical engineer and inventor, František Křižík, in 1888.

The Europromenade leads visitors along the river below the walls of the Royal Castle and up to the fortification and the Gothic moat. Since the project restored the area, this walkway has become increasingly popular among residents and tourist alike.

Draft date

17/12/2009