Smetana Embankment begins at the Legion Bridge and runs around Novotného foot bridge to the Knights of the Cross Square and then to the Charles Bridge. Mainly due to the attractive view from the Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and its vicinity to the Old Town, this segment belongs to the most popular tourist areas in Prague.
Until the mid-19th century, you would not find here anything other than loose sandy areas, which gradually sank in the river lined by old fishing cottages and crooked trees. In the years 1841 - 1845 there was erected the first Prague stone embankment leading from the Charles Bridge to the new chain bridge of Emperor František I.
The embankment designed by architect Bernard Gruber and Vojtěch Lanna, famous entrepreneur from České Budějovice built it from chiseled granite blocks. The construction was paid for by the Czech state, which has purchased land in these places. Originally, the embankment didn’t even have a proper name and was called simply Embankment or Old Town Embankment.
It was not until around 1894 that it was named František Embankment according to Franz Joseph I. From 1919 to 1952 it was called Masaryk Embankment (with the exception of 1940-1945, when it became part of the Vltava Embankment). Since 1952, it has been called the Smetana Embankment.
When taking one of our longer cruises along Smetana Embankment you can see a wide range of Prague's landmarks, such as the Old Town Bridge Tower and the famous Café Slavia. Find out more about the destinations of our ships and steamers in our animation.