- Title: CZECH REPUBLIC: Replica of medieval wooden raft sets off from Prague to Hamburg
- Date: 13th July 2012
- Summary: RAFT STARTS JOURNEY CREW MEMBERS DIRECTING RAFT RAFT ON DRIFTING PEOPLE WATCHING RAFT DRIFTING
- Embargoed: 28th July 2012 13:00
- Location: Czech Republic
- Country: Czech Republic
- Topics: Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky,Transport
- Reuters ID: LVA8EJ46QCVUCRSYPGFOUVHN3JN1
- Story Text: A replica of wooden raft used to transport wood in the middle ages set off from Prague to the German port city of Hamburg on Friday (June 13).
Wood rafting has been a popular seasonal job in the Czech region of Bohemia since the 12th century. Rafts were used to transport wood from the Sumava mountains down the Vltava river to the northern cities such as Ceske Budejovice, Prague and even as far as Hamburg.
"The way the old raft was designed is illustrated by paintings and descriptions, but very often the way it has been built is described in the old Czech language with the use of the old "rafter" slang which is hard to understand today," said the designer of the replica of the medieval raft Jiri Travnicek.
The most important and difficult part of the raft building was the binding. 14 or 16 logs were bound together into a small raft and then several of them were put together into one big raft ranging from 80 to 140 metres.
"These things were used to bind raft parts. The assembling process was the hardest part of the job,"said Travnicek.
Despite the size of the raft it is easy to navigate, said the captain Matej Zapletal: "Surprisingly it is quite easy to control this raft because it does not lean and moves smoothly, usually such rafts can drift towards the river banks. On the other hand wind can complicate the raft's drifting."
The construction of the replica took three weeks and was sponsored by Less timber company.
The raft will travel along the Vltava and then the Elbe rivers and is expected to reach Lauenburg near Hamburg on July 21st.
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