Thursday, June 5, 2014

Battlefield visit: Prague 1648

Charles bridge in Prague, Czech Republic
A work trip to Prague this time, so I had a chance to visit the site of the last battle of the 30 years war. The Battle of Prague took place in 1648, after the Swedish, sensing that the war was about to end, rushed to plunder what was still out there to grab. As it happened, Bohemia hadn't been quite picked clean yet and the Swedish forces (with many of my Finnish countrymen with them) attacked the city of Prague.

The Battle painted on a wall near the bridge

They captured the western bank of the city and plundered Prague castle. Getting the army across the Vltava river was not quite so straightforward. The army had to cross Charles Bridge to get to the old town of Prague, but the locals weren't willing to let them pass.

The excellent display painting of the battle by the Liebscher brothers (1891)

Detail of the painting
Fighting took place several times, but the defenders held. Peace was declared before the Swedish could force their way through so they had to settle for only a partial prize.

Over 350 years later, the bridge still stands and looks the same. A lot of the old town buildings also predate the 30 years war so it's easy to get an idea what the city looked like back then.

Detail of the painting.

These days the bridge cannot hold against the charge of foreign invaders, but the tourists leave money in exchange for their plunder.

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