Prague Streets – Platnerska
If you are heading from the Old Town Square to the riverside then one of the streets you could choose is Platnerska especially if you are staying at the Four Seasons Hotel. On a map, Platnerska is located to one side of the Klementinum.
This area was best known for it’s metal workers. The name comes from the Czech word that translates as “Platemakers”. Basically this was a street occupied by metal workers who largely specialised in being armourers making/repairing swords and bespoke armour for at least 600 years.
Going Way Back
There’s an interesting chronicle from the year 1118 which has the present-day location of Platnerska where it joins the river. It mentions two specific things. Firstly the part of the road closer to the river is called Otrožná which would imply the people in this area made spurs or sharpened metal objects. The second interesting fact is reference to a wooden bridge at the end of the street which would have gone over the river to the old village of Pisek on the opposite bank. This was 200 years before the Charles Bridge was built just 150 metres upstream from here.
Around 1800 the business of making armour for knights was going down but the metal working skills were still in evidence as for about 70 years the street was called Klempirska which translates as “the way to the plumbers”. But for some unknown reason in 1871 the street was officially renamed back to Platnerska.
The original street level of Platnerska can be seen if you look over the railing on the Klementinum side pictured below and dates to before 1903.
In 1791 a man called František Ringhoffer opened a small factory at No.102 Platnerska where he made copper boilers and vats for the brewing industry. When his grandson František Ringhoffer II took over the business in 1847 he diversified into heavy industry (he built the first Czech rail tenders and passenger train carriages and he also built the first passenger elevator). This company would eventually become CKD Tatra. He also diversified into brewing by setting up the Velkopopovicky Brewery which opened in 1874 (the beer is called Kozel and has a goat as it’s mascot).
On the corner of the “Nova Radnice” (New Town Hall) building in Platnerska there is a stone statue of a knight in armour. A stone knight in armour was the sign of the Prague guild of armourers hence it is a historical reference to the purpose of the street. On a visit to Prague in the 1970s, director George Lucas is said to have based the form of his character Darth Vader on the stone knight statue pictured above.