Charles Bridge is a stone Gothic bridge that connects the Old Town and Malá Strana. It was actually called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) during the first several centuries. Its construction was commissioned by Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and began in 1357. In charge of the construction was architect Petr Parléø whose other works include the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle. It is said that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen the construction of the bridge.
Charles Bridge is on the top of every Prague visitor's must-see list. It is also popular with Czech artists, musicians and souvenir vendors whose stands line both sides of the bridge year-round. A great time of day to come to the bridge is at sunset when one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the fully lit Prague Castle against the evening sky. The bridge is now a pedestrian zone (although both tram and car traffic were allowed there in the past) and is almost constantly filled with people. If you want to have it all to yourself, go there at night or very early in the morning.
The Charles Bridge, or Karluv most, was built over the Vltava River, in 1357, although there was an earlier bridge which collapsed during a flood. Considering the weight of tourists it has to bear, it's surprising this one hasn't collapsed too! Part of it did fall into the river in 1890, but the basic structure is built of solid stone.
The bridge, which is 520m long and 9m wide, was named after the Czech king, Charles IV.
At the entrance to it is the impressive Old Town Bridge Tower, which was added in 1373. The thirty statues which line the sides of the bridge were added much later, in the seventeenth century.
Even more recent additions are the vendors, artists and buskers who make their living off the thousands of tourists wending there way from the Old Town to the Castle and back.
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
On Mala Strana south side of Charles Bridge, on the pillar stands a statue of the knight with golden sward – prince Bruncvik, who, according to legend, ruled the Czech people in ancient times. The statue is artwork of Czech sculptor Ludvik Simek and it was cast in 1884. It had replaced a statue of Roland, erected in 1502 damaged by cannon fire of Swedish forces in 1648.
Karlov Most or Charles Bridge as it is more commonly known is a fantastic place to people watch!!
There are street sellers, artists and street musicians all lining the magnificent bridge.
Charles Bridge is a stone Gothic bridge that connects the Old Town and Mala Strana.
It was originally called the Stone bridge.
There are towers standing on each end of the bridge and these can be climbed for a view of the bridge form above.
There are statues on the bridge and touching one of these will ensure good luck and guarantee your return to Prague. It must be true as we have just returned for the second time!!
Charles Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in Prague built in the place of Judita’s Bridge that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. Probably the most touristy place in Prague, both ends of the Bridge are fortified by towers (The Lesser Town Bridge Towers, and the Old Town Bridge Tower).
Especially during summertime it is filled with street-painters, street-vendors and tourists. However I chose to visit Prague during Christmas because I just loved the snow. Well, it sounds bizarre, but this is when you can best enjoy the monochrome silhouettes, shadows, and solitude that make Prague unique. The crowds are also thinner during winter and prices could be better.
Measuring 515 metres long and 10 metres wide, the bridge has about 30 sculptures/statues along the sides all smartly erected, such as, Madonna & St Bernard, St. Jozef, St. jan Baptist, St. Lutgard, etc…..
Charles Bridge is well known for its sculptural decoration of character, history, breathtaking views of Prague Castle and the Vltava river. I think most visitors who have walked on Charles Bridge will agree that this part of Prague’s attraction remains their most memorable image of the city.
I don’t think you need a guided excursion to Charles Bridge. Just go free and easy, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
One good suggestion - Try to be there early in the morning just when the sun rises (the crowd has not flooded in yet), or late afternoon when the sun goes down. Best time to play with your camera...:-)))
Stare Mesto, Prague 1
Please browse through my travelogue for some pictures on/around Charles Bridge.
Charles Bridge is a stone Gothic bridge that connects the Old Town and Malá Strana.
Charles Bridge is a must see in Prague and is at the top of the list. It was a great experience visiting the bridge and admiring the views across the whole of Prague. As you can see from the photos it gets very busy during the day.
The best time to visit when you want to see it alone is at sunset where you can view the beautiful Prague Castle as the sun sets.
The bridge is now a pedestrian zone only but in the past was used by cars and trams.
Karluv most ( Charles bridge ) spans the Vltava River and connects Stare Mesto ( old city ) with Mala Strana ( lesser town ), as one of the leading tourist attractions in Praha. Reconstruction of the old stone bridge was started in about 1330 by order of King Karluv IV, and completed 45 years later. The bridge was built wide enough to stage jousting tournaments. The pedestrains only bridge is one of Europe's medieval engineering masterpieces. It is 520 meters long and 9 meters wide. After 650 years of withstanding numerous floods and other ravages of man and nature, this magnificent bridge is still as sturdy as the day it was finished. The log structures just upstream of the bridge protect the ancient piers from the erosive forces of the water. The bridge was given the name of the ambitous and egotistical monarch who conceived it.
Thirty sculptures supported by the massive bridge piers, were crafted starting in 1683. The threatening munument shown in my photos is old hund's personal favorite, Purgatory. In this artwork Pergatory or Hell is compared to a hopelessly dreadful medieval dungeon, with its prisoners eternally bound in shackles. The sculptor whose name I do not know, was a true master. The very lifelike prisoner statues shown in photo #1 appear to be as tormented and in as much anguish as anyone I have ever seen. The sculpture was crafted as a threatening reminder of the eternal fate awaiting citizens that displayed less than complete obedience toward their ruling kings and masters. I believe that not even the terrible fate depicted by the sculpture could have been much worse than the actual misery that the medieval Bohemian peasentry were subjected to. Photo #2 is a full view of the threatening monument. The priest on the top left holds shackles in the ready position for the next hapless disobedient soul. Jackels await any prisoner who might entertain an attempted escape.
I still long for the day when medieval mentality will follow the leading role of Europe and completely vanish from the planet Earth.
The oldest Prague bridge built in the place of the Judita's Bridge that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. The Stone or Prague Bridge, was founded by Charles IV in the year 1357. By the latest researches the construction was started by Master Otto and finished by Peter Parler in 1402. Both ends of the bridge are fortified by towers (the Lesser Town Bridge Towers, the Old Town Bridge Tower). From 1683 to 1928 thirty sculptures and sculptural groups of the saints were gradually set on the bridge piers. The bridge is 515 meters long and 10 meters wide.
For many years, only a single cross decorated the Charles Bridge, but in 1683 a single statue of St. John of Nepomuk was placed at the site of his martyrdom. Now (replicas of) 30 statues line the bridge, 15 north and south, placed by the Catholic rulers of Prague during the 17th and 18th Centuries. The most popular remains the first. Touching the cross and stars in the right lower panel is supposed to bring good luck, while touching the dog on the left panel brings bad luck. The bridge has become so crowded with tourists today that apparently the bad luck associated with the dog has conveniently been forgotten and visitors touch anything on which they can lay their fingers. By legend, this court priest of King Wenceslaw IV was thrown to his death after torture from this site on the bridge. As he hit the water, 5 stars appeared as shown around his head in the statue. The legend attributes his bad fortune to failing to divulge to the king the content of the queen's confession, but in reality it was all about politics. He invited to Prague a bishop disliked by the king, simple.
The remaining statues feature other saints including Wenceslas, John the Baptist, Francis of Assisi, Vitus, and Christopher, as well as the Madonna, Jesus on the Cross, and a Pieta'. The cross contains gold Hebrew letters supposedly a fine to a Jew who ridiculed the cross in mixed company.
The Charles Bridge may be overrun by tourists, the Hare Krishne dancer (yes, really) visit on a regular basis, and peace marchers occupied the bridge on the evening we visited. Nonetheless it represents a do-not-miss feature of Prague.
The Gothic-style stone Charles Bridge crosses the Vltava between Mala Strana and the Old Town, perhaps the most heavily touristed site in Prague. Construction began in 1357 under the order of Holy Roman Emporer Charles IV and supervised by Petr Parler who had worked on the St. Vitus Cathedral. It is over 500 yards long and 10 yards wide with 30 statues along the sides - monuments to multiple predominantly Czech saints as well as Jesus and the Madonna. Today the statues are largely reproductions, the originals removed for safekeeping from environmental damage to adjacent museums The ancient western and eastern towers dominate the bridge as well as the surrounding areas of town. Near the western end, a small inconspicuous staircase leads down to Kampa Island, an important shortcut. The approaches to the bridge are marred by souvenier stands, artisans, assorted hawkers of boat tours and concerts and whatnot, and hordes of tour groups. The bridge itself, while crowded, appeared mostly free of commerce on our visit, thankfully, allowing us to appreciate the remarkable statuary as well as the views on both sides.
Since the prior Judith bridge has been destroyed by a flood, legend states that eggs were used to thicken the mortar holding the large stones together. So far so good.
A second legend states that astrologers picked the exact moment for Charles IV to lay the foundation stone - 9 July 1357 at 0531 forming the palindrome 135797531.
It is nigh on impossible to find fault with the Charles Bridge - other than with the hundreds of fellow tourists that you are likely to have to share it with!
The bridge dates back to the 15th century and was built over the Vltava to link the Castle at Hradcany to the Old Town. It was built in a Gothic style with a tower on the Old Town side, and has been modified over the centuries, most notably with the addition of 30 mostly Baroque statues which line each side. It is a little disappointing to discover that the statues are in fact replicas, as the originals have been progressively replaced since the 1960s and transported to the National Museum for safe keeping.
Perhaps the most famous event to take place on the bridge was the execution of St John Nepomuk, the patron saint of the Czech Republic, who was cast into the Vltava in 1393 on the orders of King Wenceslaus, King of the Romans and King of Bohemia. Wikipedia says that "he was the confessor of the queen of Bohemia and refused to divulge the secrets of the confessional. On the basis of this account, John of Nepomuk is considered the first martyr of the Seal of the Confessional, a patron against calumnies and, because of the manner of his death, a protector from floods". Obviously not a candidate for reality TV then ...
The bridge has come it for more than its fair share of battering over the years: in addition to damage incurred during armed conflict (most notably by the Swedes during the Thirty Years War), it has also been hammered by severe floods which have damaged the structure on several occasions.
The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic in the late 1970s and is now a pedestrian zone. During the day, the bridge is a hive of activity, with the retail needs of the crowds of tourists ably catered for by a host of artists, craftsmen and buskers plying their respective trades. Many of the goods are of excellent quality - I particularly like the black and white photography which further enhances Prague's fairytale qualities.
In order to avoid the crowds, try to visit in the early morning when there are fewer people around (and the light is great for photography) - it is also lovely in the evening when the twinkling lights shimmer on the water.
The Old Town Bridge Tower marks the entrance toKARLUV MOST or CHARLES BRIDGE. The 500 meter long stone bridge is an exceptional example of medieval building technique with sixteen arches and a Sculpture Gallery. Works include 28 statues of the Saints by artists lik Braun and Brokoff.
The Bridge foundation stone was laid in 1357 by King Charles IV.
Over 600 years old, Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge in the city. Thirty statues of saints line the bridge.
It seems like all roads lead to Charles Bridge...meaning all tourists seem to end up here at the same time each afternoon...making the bridge at times the place NOT to be if you have an aversion to crowds....not to mention a dream to pickpockets.
But early morning or in the evening the bridge can be a magical place to visit. We spent a couple of hours standing near the bridge one evening, waiting for the sun to set to try and take that elusive night shot of the bridge. How did we do?
The Charles Bridge is by far the most well known site of Prague, connecting the mala strana and the old town.
The bridge is nicely decorated with large statues , representing important persons , mostly religious and were added over the years, most of them are copies though whereas the originals are stored in the national museum.
Until 1754this was actually the only bridge over the Vltava. Its construction was allowed by Charles IV in 1357 and not until 1683 was it decorated by its first statue.
Day & night , from far away or on top of it this bridge looks great and is car free.
Yet best to cross it as early as possible unless you wanna warm up in a touristic crowd.
Do you recognize the scenes of Mission Impossible shot here?