Planned Prague bridge could be named after Madeleine Albright

The bridge for pedestrians, bikes, and public transit will link the Prague 4 and Prague 5 districts.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 25.03.2022 10:51:00 (updated on 29.03.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

A planned bridge in Prague spanning the Vltava could be named after former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who died at the age of 84 on March 23.

The bridge so far has been called Dvorecký most. The proposal for the new name will be addressed by the city’s municipal topography commission and will be also discussed with Prague 4 and Prague, the two districts that will be connected by the bridge. Albright was born in Smíchov, a district in Prague 5, on May 15, 1937. Her family fled in 1939 due to the Nazi occupation.

Albright was widely praised for her efforts to steer Czech foreign policy to the West after the Velvet Revolution and was close friends with Czechoslovak and later Czech president Václav Havel.

Albright served as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under then-president Bill Clinton. She was the first woman in the office and until then also the highest-ranking female politician in American history.

“I was hit by the news of the death of Madeleine Albright, a native of Smíchov, Prague. At today's City Council, I therefore suggested naming Dvorecký most after her. I hope that it will be Madeleine Albright Bridge. Prague would be honored if one of its bridges bore her name,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr said on Twitter on Thursday.

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“I will start negotiations with the city districts as soon as possible so that we can discuss in detail the naming of the bridge after Madeleine Albright,” he added.

The design for the bridge has already been selected and the city is in the process of choosing a contractor to build the bridge, which should cost about CZK 972 million. Construction should begin no later than mid-year and take two to three years to complete. The bridge will serve trams, buses, cyclists, and pedestrians, but not automobiles. It is intended to improve transport connections on both banks of the Vltava.

The eastern end of the bridge will be at Žluté lázně, north of Jeremenkova Street and the western end will be near the Lihovar tram stop. The bridge will be 388 meters long and 16 meters wide.

The names of streets and public spaces are decided by the municipal topographical commission and subsequently by the city management. Renaming streets after famous people is not unusual, but the city tries to limit how often it happens as everyone living or doing business on the street has to change their address.

The street that the U.S. ambassador’s residence is located on in Prague 6 in 2011 was changed to Ronalda Reagana in honor of the U.S. president who called for the Berlin Wall to be torn down. The plaza at the National Theatre was named náměstí Václava Havla in 2016 after former president Havel, who was also a playwright. A plaza on Pařížská street was renamed náměstí Miloše Formana in 2018 after the late film director.

Streets are also sometimes renamed due to politics. The square in front of the Russian Embassy in Prague was renamed to náměstí Borise Němcova in 2020. Boris Nemtsov, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was murdered in 2015. Another street by the embassy is in the process of being renamed Ukrajinských hrdinů (Ukrainian Heroes) and a nearby railway bridge is being renamed after Vitalii Skakun, a Ukrainian marine combat engineer who died in fighting near Kherson.

Efforts to change the name of Koněvova Street in Prague 3, named after controversial Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev, have stalled for the time being as it would be too complicated. Instead, blue panels that add some contest to the name have been added under some of the street signs.

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