Charles Bridge , located in Prague, Czech Republic , is a famous pedestrian bridge crossing the Vltava river. At the time it was built, the bridge provided the only link between the Old Town and the adjacent areas.
Construction & design
Charles Bridge construction started in 1357 under the rule of the King Charles IV and was completed in the beginning of the 15th century. In charge of the construction was architect Petr Parléř whose other works include the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle. As the only means of crossing the river Vltava , the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between the Old Town, Prague Castle and adjacent areas until 1841. This connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. The bridge was also called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) and was renamed “Charles Bridge” since 1870.
The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 meters 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.
Charles Bridge is decorated with 30 mostly baroque statues (replicas of the original ones) originally erected around 1700 , and during the tourist season it is filled with vendors, artists, musicians and tourists. Among the most notable sculptures, one can find the statuaries of St. Luthgard, the Holy Crucifix and Calvary, and St. John of Nepomuk. Well known also is the statue of the knight Bruncvík. Touching the statues is supposed to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague.
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. For the most spectacular views of the Old Town and a truly romantic and less crowded , make sure to walk on the bridge at sunset. The wonderful Prague Castle creates spectacular views against the evening sky and the setting sun. During the day , Charles Bridge is a very busy place, with painters, owners of kiosks and other traders alongside numerous tourists crossing the bridge .
Charles Bridge facts
- Official name – Karlův most
- Carries – Pedestrian only
- Crosses – Vltava River
- Location – Prague
- Designer – Peter Parler
- Total length – 515.8 metres (1,692 ft)
- Width – 9.5 metres (31 ft)
- Longest span – 13.4 metres (44 ft)
- Vertical clearance – 13 metres (43 ft)
- Construction – 1357 , 1402