UNESCO Saves Prague’s Railway Bridge At Vyton

Milan Malíček, Právo

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre has written a letter to the Czech Ministry of Culture stating that the railway bridge at Vyton in Prague should be preserved. The reason given by the center is that the bridge is an integral part of Prague’s panorama, and its importance is also due to its declaration as a cultural monument of the Czech Republic.

The bridge’s owner, the Railway Administration (SŽ), has unsuccessfully sought to have the bridge’s monument protection removed in the past, which the Ministry rejected. According to technical reports, the preservation of the bridge is feasible, and repairs and improvements to the railway track are possible, as confirmed by UNESCO’s letter, signed by the Director of its Cultural Section, Lazare Eloundou Assoma.

The proposal for a new bridge lacks the elegance and sophistication of the railway bridge, according to Eloundou Assoma. The new bridge would hurt the river panorama of Prague, which is part of why Prague is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The dismantling of the bridge cannot be supported because its cultural value derives precisely from its location.

The Czech National Committee of ICOMOS has stated that the bridge is repairable, and its preservation in its current form should be a priority due to its value. The Výtoň 21 initiative, which connects residents, demands the preservation of the bridge and its modernization to be built according to modern standards.

In March, the Prague City Council decided to support the reconstruction of the bridge in its current form, and the construction of its third track is essential for the city. Minister of Transport Martin Kupka (ODS) wants to decide on further measures by the end of the year.