Charles Bridge or Karluv Most (its real name) was commissioned by Charles IV in 1357 to replace an older one; Judith Bridge, which was destroyed by a flood in 1342. It connects Stare Mesto; the Old Town with Mala Strana, the Lesser Town.
This bridge is flanked by thirty ancient statues of saints. Most of them are copies. The oldest is the statue of Saint John of Nepomuk. It is supposed to bring you luck if you touch two spots on this statue. These are shiny because they were touched by many hands.
Charles Bridge is a good place to listen to music performed by some street musicians; to have a look at some souvenir stalls end enjoy the beautiful landscape on the castle area and some other places.
Dating back to the beginning of the 15th century, Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge in Prague. In fact, for over 200 years, it was the only bridge crossing the Vltava River. The impressive stone bridge is supported by 16 arches, and it features beautiful Gothic towers at both ends as well as a collection of 30 statues of different saints. At the time of its construction, the bridge's 10 meter width was deemed necessary to accommodate heavy carriage traffic between Prague Castle and Old Town, especially as it became an important part of the trade route between eastern and western Europe. Although the bridge can now only be accessed on foot, it is still barely large enough to accommodate the constant flow of tourists as well as the numerous street vendors and street artists. Apart from Old Town Square, it probably is the most crowded and liveliest place in Prague. It also offers great views of the city!
It’s a "must" (thing to do) now whenever one walks along the Charles Bridge in Prague:
To make a wish at the St. John of Nepomuk Statue, the statue with the that gold metal plate whose carvings have been made shiny by the millions of tourists who have touched it.
But you have to touch it with your left hand!!! Then you make a wish (it supposedly gives you good luck and assures a return to the city of Prague). I heard about the LEFT HAND from Samantha Brown.
But there is a lesser more unknown place to make a wish near the statue --- it is a Five-star cross (also metal) a few feet away from the statue and not so many tourists go there.
You place your five fingers (left hand) on the five stars and then send a wish to someone – or just send it to yourself – as you look into the river. I heard that this spot where the five star is is exactly where St Jon was actually thrown off and died. Morbid...
John of Nepomuk was a priest in Prague under a suspicious King Wenceslas IV (son of Charles IV). He received the confessions of the Queen and the King wanted to know the Queen’s confessions which Nepomuk would not reveal. Priest Nepomuk was therefore executed by being thrown into the Vltava River from the bridge with “weights” (I read somewhere that something heavy was tied to him) which caused his drowning.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!
I made a video of my adventure in Prague!
Hope you like this:
MY FIRST DAY IN PRAGUE
You can find statue of St John Nepomuk along Charles Bridge. With the statue of St John Nepomuk you can touch it and make a wish, Kim did.
Most of the Baroque statues were erected between 1683 and 1714. They are all protectors and ghosts of the past of Prague.
You can find statue of St Norbert, St Wenceslas and St Sigismund along Charles Bridge. Most of the Baroque statues were erected between 1683 and 1714. They are all protectors and ghosts of the past of Prague.
Charles Bridge was built between 1158 and 1732 during the reign of King Vladislav I. Originally it was a wooden bridge which was replaced by stone and Charles Bridge became the first stone bridge in Prague over the Vltava River. Today the bridge is a major attraction it is filled with street-painters, street-vendors and tourists. The bridge leads to the Old Town.
There isn't very much that I can say about Charles Bridge that hasn't already been said. It is often a very crowded place as it is one of the biggest "attractions" of the city. The bridge is usually full of street artists, dancers and buskers.
You can walk up one of the towers to get a beautiful view of the bridge and the River Vltava. There are also many statues of patriotic saints on the bridge that you can stop and admire.
At the time that the bridge was constructed it was the only connection between the Prague Castle and the Old Town.
Charles IV (1316-1378) was the second Czech ruler from the House of Luxembourg. He was the son of John of Bohemia, who was related by blood to the French crown, and Elisabeth of Bohemia, who was a Hapsburg by blood. Charles was monarch of the Czech Lands as well as Holy Roman Emperor.
His reign was considered one of the best. He was a generous patron of the arts, an avid builder under whom two of Prague's most well known landmarks were started- the Charles Bridge and St Vitus Cathedral. He also founded the university that bears his name, still one of the best in Central Europe. If Prague resembles Paris in some ways it is perhaps no accident. Charles IV sought to rebuild Prague in the image of Paris, where he spend seven years in the court of his uncle, Charles IV of France.
As Holy Roman Emperor, Charles made Prague the capital of the Empire and one of the important, and now beautiful, cities in Central Europe.
The Charles Bridge (Karlův most) is easily one of Prague's biggest tourist attractions. Why?
Well one one side of the bridge is Prague's Old Town, on the other side is Mala Strana and above it Hradcany, the Castle District. Until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the only bridge over the Vltava. The view from the bridge is excellent, no doubt about it. Prague Castle towers over everything, a dominating, gigantic presence.
On the bridge itself you can get your portrait painted, you can admire the 30 statues on the bridge, you have a great vantage point for taking photos of Prague. Be careful though, there are always crowds on the bridge and you can rest assured that anywhere where there are perpetual crowds the pickpockets won't be far behind. Always be mindful of your surroundings!
The Charles Bridge takes its name from Charles IV, who commissioned the bridge. The original intent was to make a construction where they could have knight tournaments. Charles IV was an interesting character and his reign is considered to be the Golden Age. He was a great patron of the arts, an impassioned builder, and the monarch that really brought the Czech Lands into major European status.
The Charles Bridge is 621 meters long and 10 meters wide. There are 16 arches and three towers, two on the Mala Strana side and one on the Old Town Side.
The statues that you will see, none of them are from the original bridge. Actually the only thing that originally adorned the bridge was a simple crucifix. The statues were added about 1700, and what you see on the bridge today are all replicas of the originals.
Prague’s most familiar monument was built by Peter Parler (another his project is St.Vitus’) for Charles IV in 1357 after the Judith Bridge was destroyed by floods. It connects the Old Town ( Stare Mesto) with little Quarter (Mala Strana) and was the only bridge across the Vltava until 1741.
No need to plan a separate trip to the bridge, you can see it on the way to another sightseeing in Old Town or Little Quarter. Like most of the visitors we started to stroll the bridge from Old Town Bridge Tower. The original east side of the tower remains pristine, with coats of arms of the Bohemian king and Holy Roman Empire. Shields also depict each territory under the auspices of the bohemian crown at that time. Above the east-side arch, seated on the right of the standing statue of St. Vitus, is Charles itself and on the left is a statue of his ill-fated son, Wenceslas IV , who lost the crown of the empire. The towers’ western side was severely damaged in a battle against invading Swedish troops in 1648.
Next, on the right is Madonna.
She’s attending to a kneeling St. Bernard flanked by cherubs.
On the left side is St.Ives
He’s the patron saint of lawyers and depicted as promising to help a person who petitioned him.Justice is also portrayed.
4. Right. St. Dominic and St. Thomas Aquinas
These two figures are shown receiving a rosary from the hands of the Madonna. Below the Madonna are enshrouded globe and a dog, the symbol of Dominican order.
5. Left . St. Barbara, St. Margaret and St. Elizabeth
6. Right. Bronze Crucifix. Brought from Dresden, Germany it was put by the Prague magistrate in 1657.For 200 years this crucifix stood alone on the bridge. The gilded Christ dates from 1629 and the Hebrew words “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord’ were paid for by a Jew as punishment for blasphemy.
7.L. Lamenting of Christ
9. L. St. Joseph
10. R. St. Cyril and St. Methodius
Catholic missionaries are credited for introducing Christianity and Cyrillic Alphabet to the Slaves. Well known and respected by orthodox churches too.
11.L. St.Francis Xavier
12. R. St. John of Baptist. The saint is depicted here with a cross and a shell, symbols of Baptism.
13. L. St. Christopher. The patron saint of craftsmen is shown carrying baby Jesus on his shoulder. The statue stands on the site of the original bridge watch house, which collapsed into the river along with several soldiers during the great Flood of 1784.
14. R. St. Norbert, St. Wenceslas and St. Sigismund-all three are patrons of the Czech lands.
15.L St. Francis Borgia. He was a Jesuit general and is depicted with two angels holding a painting of the Madonna. Look on the lower part of the sculpture’s pedestal, where you’ll see the three symbols of the saints life: a helmet, a ducal crown and a cardinal’s hat
16. R. St. John of Neponuk. He was thrown to his death in chains from this bridge and this, the oldest sculpture on the span, was placed here to commemorate him. The bronze figure, sporting a gold leaf halo, was completed in 1683.The bridges sole bronze statue, St. John is now green with age and worn from years of being touched for a good luck.
17. L. St. Ludmila
18. R. St. Anthony of Padua
19. L St. Francis of Assisi. The first Roman Catholic martyr to be incorporated into Bohemian liturgy, the contemplative saint is shown here between two angels.
20. R. ST. Judas Thaddeus.
21. L. St. Vincent Ferrer. He is sjown boasting to St. Procopius of his many conversions 8000 Muslims ans 25000 Jews.
22. R . St. Augustine
23. L. St.Nicholas of Tolentino.
24. R. St. Cajetan. Behind the statue triangle symbolized the Holy Trinity.
25. L. St.Lutigarde
26. R.St. Philip Benitius
27. L . St.Adalbert- the first bishop of Bohemia is blessing the Czech lands.
28. R .St.Vitus
29. L. St. John of Matha, St.Felix of Valois and St.Ivan- The statue was commissioned to the Trinitarian Order, which rescued Christians from Turkish captivity.
30.R. St. Cosma and St. Damian- ,they are famous in Orthodoxy too, patrons of poor, known as providers of free medical services for poor.
31. L. St. Wenceslas
32. R. Lesser Town tower
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