Advent Lamplighter Returning to Charles Bridge on December 3
As in previous years, you will have a chance to meet the uniformed lamp-lighter on the Charles Bridge.
At approximately 16:00 he will begin to light the historical gaslighting with a burning wick on a long rod near the Old Town Bridge Tower.
Nowadays, the gas lights operate automatically, and Advent is the only time of the year when the gas lamps are lit up by a lamplighter.
Street lighting in Prague dates back to 1847, which is the year when the first gas lamps were lit in this city. By 1940, nearly 9,000 gas lamps cast their bluish glow on the city.
Gaslighting was used in Prague till 1985 when the eight branched cast-iron lamps on Hradčanské square and in Loretánská street were converted for electric light.
However, 2002 saw the return of gaslight to the city’s most historic areas. In 2010, gas lamps were placed on the Charles Bridge, which is the only gas-lit bridge in the world.
Nowadays, you can admire romantic gaslighting on the whole Royal Route, from Powder Gate Tower to Hradčanské square.
The lamplighter Jan Žákovec, is vice president of the Lamplighters’ Guild and head of the Gasworks Museum. At 205 cm, he is the tallest lamplighter in the world.
The number of lamplighters can be counted on the fingers of one hand because today, the lamps light up automatically. “I know the lamplighters in Poland in Wroclaw, Brest in Belarus and in London … there are very few of us,” admits Žákovec with a smile.
“In 2002 they turned on the first nine lamps on Michalská Street, and there was a small celebration to commemorate the way the city used to be lit. There were representatives of various companies who‘d played a part, and I was there on behalf of the gasworks, to say something about gaslighting. When it came time to light the lamps, someone said: You’re the tallest, you light them. So that’s how I started.”
“There are gas lamps essentially all along the King’s “Royal Way”. That means its southern part from the Powder Tower to the Old Town Square, and from there to Karlova Street, while the second part leads along Rytířská Street to Uhelný Trh. In 2010, the Charles Bridge was converted, and today it’s still the only bridge in the world lit by gas lamps,” Žákovec says.
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