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
Once we woke up and had our breakfast, we caught the tram which took us to the foot of the Charles Bridge. It's a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava River and connects Prague Castle with Old Town. There are so many sights to see, statues to look at and many things to purchase as you walk across. During the day, it's very crowded and precautions should be taken to ensure your valuables are safe and secure.
The Charles Bridge (Czech: Karluv Most) is a famous bridge over the Vltava (Moldau) in Prague. The bridge is located in the district of Prague 1 and connects the Old Town with Lesser Town. The construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV.
In 1357, on 9 July at 5:31 (1-3-5-7/9-7/5-3-1) explained King Charles the first stone.
At that time it was the only connection to the river in Prague stabbing. To 1841 was the main link between Old Town and Prague Castle. Originally called "the Judith Bridge (Juditin must), named after Judith of Thuringia, the wife of Duke Vladislav II of Bohemia. Since 1870 the bridge called the Charles Bridge.
The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 m wide. The structure consists of 16 arches with iceprotection. The bridge is protected by three towers, including 1 on the side of the Old City (the east). This tower is often considered the finest Gothic building in the world. On the bridge are 30 statues, mostly in the Baroque style and made around 1700. It is said that by the mortar used for the bridge is used, a larger protein was mixed in order to obtain strength.
Don't worry about location, accesses or anything else concerning this bridge.
"All the roads lead to Rome" except here: all the streets and people seem to converge to this wonderful bridge, where statues mix with living artists.
Built in the end of the 14th century, it was, until 1841 the only way to cross the Vltava river. Protected by towers at both ends, it is decorated with many statues.
Charles Bridge is a gothic structure that connects the Old Town to the Little Quarter (also known as Malá Strana).
The construction of the bridge, which began in 1357 was commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and was contructed with the purpose to connect the Prague banks of the Vltava River. Two towers were also erected on both sides of the bridge, which may be easily accessed for a bettter view of Prague. One of the most popular features of this bridge is perhaps the baroque statues that were placed along either side of the bridge. (These statues are copies and not the original ones).
Charles Bridge is a very popular tourist attraction especially during the day. As always, be careful of pickpockets. The bridge is a pedestrian area, no cars are allowed. Whilst crossing the bridge, you will definitely come across locals who will try to sell you River cruises. They can be very persistent so if you don't intend to buy tickets, you may want to make your intentions very clear.
Prague's 13th century Charles Bridge is normally packed with people all day long, especially during the spring and summer months. This is undoubtedly a top priority on your list of sights to visit.
The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 m wide, resting on 16 arches shielded by ice guards.
It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side.
The Old Town bridge tower is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world.
The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries (most of them baroque-style) erected around 1700.
St. Francis Seraphic (see pic#2) the original statue by Emanuel Max from 1855. Three isolated figures of St. Francis and two angels was created in the Academic Classicism style.
Try early morning for a less crowded walk, or, alternatively, enjoy a romantic evening stroll for a fairytale panorama of the Prague skyline, dominated by the awe inspiring Prague Castle.
Charles Bridge is not just a tourist attraction. It's the main pedestrian route linking the Old Town with Mala Strana, and then onto Prague Castle itself.
During the day, expect hundreds of souvenir stands as well as an endless variety of street musicians; look out for the Jazz band who can be particularly entertaining.
King Charles IV's favourite architect and builder, Peter Parler, originally built the present day bridge. The initial idea was to build a functional construction for knight tournaments, and for many years the only decoration on the bridge was a simple crucifix. Later the Catholic desire for ornamentation resulted in 30 statues being built (1600-1800 AD).
Today most of the statues are copies as various floods and catastrophes over the centuries have damaged the originals. There are now 75 statues, and perhaps the most interesting, as well as the oldest, is that of John of Nepomuk (8th from the right as you cross towards Prague Castle).
A group of St. Bernard (see pic.), the founder of the Cistercian Order, is situated on an asymmetrical pedestal. Little angels holding the abbot’s infula and attributes of Christ’s sufferance.
There are towers at both ends of the bridge - the Old Town Bridge Tower on the Old Town side and the Lesser Town Bridge Towers on the Mala Strana side.
This place was under construction or renovation while I was visiting it. Many statues along the bridge was being repaired and covered in plastic stuff. The place and shops around the bridge tower was busy and lots of tourists everywhere. I'm glad I was able to see the bridge and cross over it.
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