Do you know where to find the Czech Republic’s oldest bridge? In the South Bohemian city of Písek! It is enough just to walk over its ancient cobblestones and you will be instantly transported back to the days when the city was ablaze with gold fever. Stroll through the historical centre of Písek and experience a place that was once among the foremost cities in the kingdom. And remember to keep a careful look out: Perhaps waiting for you somewhere is a little bit of gold-studded sand!
The city owes its existence to mineral riches in the form of gold-bearing sand, which was mined here beginning in the 12th century. That is when the city’s most important monument was built: the Gothic stone bridge, where today you will find beautiful sculptural decorations. But why is it called Jelení most, meaning Deer Bridge? Legend has it that the bridge was to be named after the first one to cross it. That privilege, however, unexpectedly went to a deer, which suddenly leaped out of a nearby forest and traversed the bridge. After crossing the famous bridge you won’t be far from the very heart of the city. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee on the main square, which is anchored by the beautiful Baroque town hall building. Located in the royal castle across the square is the Prácheňské Museum, where you can see for yourself how gold was once mined here.
A city full of energy
Do you eagerly seek out culture? Then be sure to check out the schedule of events at the Sladovna (Malt House) cultural centre, which in addition to housing a permanent exhibition on the history of children’s book illustrations also regularly holds other exhibitions, concerts and workshops. Písek is literally pulsing with energy, and this is also due to the fact that it became the very first city in the Czech lands to have permanent public street lighting, engineered by the “Czech Edison,” František Křižík. It was powered by the country’s oldest still-functional hydroelectric plant. Although Písek offers many interesting ways to spend a pleasant day, you can also explore the surrounding area. For example, you can set off to tour the romantic Zvíkov Castle, which due to its stunning location on a cliff above a dam is one of the most romantic in the country.