How a 14th-century bridge in Prague was built

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/16/how-a-14th-century-bridge-in-prague-was-built.html

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Neat. Wonder if my ancestors worked on it…

I know I had some in Prague in the late 1500s…

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Video link for the BBS


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJgD6gyi0Wk
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Apparently coffer dams like that are great places to bury any bodies you don’t want to be found

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Not just a 14th century bridge: the most famous tourist attraction of all of Czechia

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Here’s Trajan’s bridge over the lower Danube: over twice as long, started in 103 AD and ready for an invasion 3 years later.

ADhttps://vimeo.com/52953688

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It’s amazing to watch the intricacies of this construction process and then imagine it stretched over many years. Presumably they built one pier at a time so they only had to build one water pump and one crane that they reconstructed each time. If so, a worker halfway through your career could be telling the new folks on the job that you worked on the first pier 20 years ago and have been through the process 2-3 times since then.

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Is that why they’re named after Jimmy Hoffa?

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You’ll keep quiet about that if you know what’s good for you

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What’s really cool to me is that this is how we build them now, too. Build a coffer dam with driven piles, pump out the water, build the piers, etc. It goes a lot faster now because of modern machinery, but that’s the same way we’d build it today, most likely. For a bridge that small we’d throw a girder over the river instead, but for bridges of this style (masonry piers connected by structures) this is still what we do.

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wow thats cool i didn’t know they had Mine Craft in the 14th century.

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Apparently, the bridge is made out of stone. I’d like to know how they constructed the stone blocks that form the arches, since those have to be fairly precise to create the span and support all of that weight.

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Some serious Game of Thrones vibe here.

was there a load of coffee …dam for the cofferdam… dam

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This is exactly what I was just saying to someone who looked at me blankly….

Hammers, chisels, and trig.

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Compass and square. They don’t call them masons for nothing. :wink:

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That’s because Game of Thrones has a serious medieval Europe vibe.

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Did medieval Europe have CG-like graphics of buildings that build themselves? :slight_smile:

Have you seen those things called gothic cathedrals? If there’s one thing medieval people were really good at it’s precision stonemasonry.

Anyway, this is how they did it:

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