PRAGUE – With a table spanning the 515-meter Charles Bridge, Prague sought to turn the page on Tuesday after the novel coronavirus left the popular tourist destination devoid of visitors for months.
“The table is set” was the name of the event organized by the citizen group “Piana na ulici” (Pianos in the streets) and the capital’s city council.
“We are experiencing a unique situation where Charles Bridge is not crowded with people. Maybe we won’t experience it ever again. Together with you, we want to symbolically celebrate the farewell to the past difficult period of the coronavirus crisis,” the organizers said on the event’s Facebook page.
The Czech Republic has recorded almost 12,000 coronavirus cases and 349 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
“Anyone can come, they just have to bring something. Maybe bake a cake, prepare canapes, bring a rose in a vase. Or just buy grapes in the evening. It is an act of trust that everyone will bring something,” it added.
The number of diners was limited and they all had to register through the Goout.cz website.
“Reservations disappeared in 40 seconds. We are fully occupied,” the Facebook page said.
Prague 1 Mayor Petr Hejma told local media that “we need to send the world a symbol that we live again and that we invite decent tourists, both Prague residents and non-Prague, to experience this unique event.”
The construction of the Gothic Charles Bridge, one of the most iconic places in the city, began in 1357 by order of King Charles IV, who consulted with astrologers to find an auspicious date and time for the laying of the first foundation stone. Work began on July 9, 1357 at 5:31 am, a numerical palindrome of 135797531.
Due to its strategic importance, the bridge over the Vltava river has been a silent witness to epic episodes in the defense of the city.
It is also a gallery of 30 open-air statues, which were added at the beginning of the 18th century during the reigns of the Habsburgs, Joseph I and his brother Charles VI, to enhance the site.