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Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge
Karlův most
Location:
Prague 1
How to get there:
Tram stop Karlovy lázně 17,18 Tram stop Malostranké náměstí 12, 20, 22, 23
Opening times:
Nonstop
Content areas
Built in Alliance With the Stars

 

Charles Bridge It was in 1357 and upon the orders of Charles IV that construction of the bridge began. At this time the Vltava was part of an extremely important international trade route and the prospering city of Prague needed a reliable connection between the Old Town and Lesser Town. Since the severe flooding and destruction of the old Judita Bridge in 1342, the only link between the two settlements was made of wood: hardly befitting of Charles' grand vision of Prague as the cultivated and innovative capital of the Catholic world.

The Holy Roman Emperor himself laid the first stone of the bridge's footpath, choosing to execute the task at a very specific time: 9th July, 1357, at 5:31 am. The Royal Astrologers and the Royal Numerologists had advised him that the planet Saturn would then move in conjunction with the Sun. If you look at the numbers formed by the date and time, you will see that they are symmetrical: 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1. They superstitiously believed that the bridge would therefore be protected from destruction.

Unusual Building Technique

Charles BridgeThe young Petr Parléř was called on as architect and construction leader. To ensure it did not share the same fate as its predecessor, Charles Bridge was built from bricks made from Bohemian sandstone, which, according to legend, were bound by mortar enriched by raw eggs and wine. Supposedly the ingredients made the mixture harder. When not enough eggs could be found in the city, Charles ordered that they be brought from all over the country. And maybe it worked: the bridge has outlived numerous disasters, including Swedish canon damage in 1648, and the terrible floods of 2002.

 

Despite its illustrious conception, for a long time the bridge was simply known as Prague Bridge or Stone Bridge. It was thanks to an 1870 proposal by the Czech writer and journalist Karl Havlíček Borovský that the iconic construction was renamed Charles Bridge, honouring its original mastermind.

Dimensions

Charles BridgeDimensions - Charles Bridge is 500 m long and 10 m wide, supported by 16 pillars. If you stop to consider the fact that it was made using medieval construction techniques, you will realise the bridge is truly an astonishing feat of engineering.

 

 

The Assorted Statues

 

Charles BridgeInstalled from 1683 to 1714, the statues depict various Catholic saints and Czech patron saints. They were sculpted by the prominent artists of the day, such as M. Braun and the Brokoff brothers. In 1965, for their preservation, the originals were removed to the lapidarium of the National Museum, and replaced by copies.

The most famous statue is that of St. John of Nepomuk: it reputedly brings good luck to those who touch its relief, fulfils their wishes, etc. Just look for the smoothly polished stone to see where to touch.
Charles Bridge
Nevertheless, St. Nepomuk did not have much luck of his own. The saint's tortured body was thrown off the bridge in 1395, upon the orders of Václav IV, son of Charles IV. The King was displeased with Nepomuk for refusing to divulge the Queen's confessional secrets.
Hot walking tip

For a more relaxing and romantic walk we recommend you visit Charles Bridge in the evening. There are far fewer people there than during the day, and the night view of lit-up Prague - which particularly highlights the beauty of Prague Castle - offers an opportunity for fantastic photographs.© Prague.biz 

 

 

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