Prague Police are looking for two people of interest in connection with graffiti sprayed on a pillar under Charles Bridge on March 8 at shortly before 11 pm.
A 16-second security video released by the police shows two people with backpacks come down the steps near Charles Bridge, looking around and then heading toward the pillar where the graffiti was later found. The man has a black canister in his hand. The video is timestamped at 10:45 pm on March 8.
The graffiti red and black says “Kraków + Moscow = Prague” and has the date 8.3.2020. The meaning behind the inscription is unclear.
Since the graffiti was discovered, the local department in Malá Strana has been working to clarify the case and consider it a criminal act of damaging an object.
“In investigating the case, police officers secured camera recordings and found that at the time of the crime a couple went through the site. The police seek to hear from them At the moment, we see man and woman as witnesses,” police spokeswoman Violeta Siřišťová said.
If anyone recognizes the couple, they should call the police at 158.
National Heritage Institute (NPÚ) spokeswoman Jana Hartmanová on March 10 said they took samples for testing to determine the most appropriate method of cleaning. The Technical Road Administration (TSK) has already followed the recommendations of the NPÚ and removed the graffiti. The process took several hours. The site was then turned over to conservationists for inspection.
Conservationists faced criticism the last time there was graffiti on a bridge pillar, as the response was slow. A private person who runs a graffiti removal service, Miloslav Černý, stepped in and removed it with high-pressure steam and an organic solvent. He claimed NPÚ plan, which would have taken two weeks, risked permanent damage to the stonework as the paint would permanently settle deep in the stones.
In that case, two German tourists were caught and received suspended sentences, fines, and expulsion from the Czech Republic for five years.
The 520-meter-long Charles Bridge, originally called Stone Bridge, was founded in 1357 under the reign of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Roman Emperor. At the end of the 17th and in the 18th centuries, the bridge turned into a gallery of baroque statues of saints. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Prague.
Lighting on the bridge at night has recently been restored after being off for four months due to repairs to the ice breakers and other maintenance.