Charles Bridge

The predecessor of Charles Bridge — Judith's Bridge from the 12th century — was destroyed by a flood in 1342. King Charles IV invited Petr Parler — the same architect who built the cathedral at Prague Castle — to manage the construction of a new bridge. He also ordered the astrologist to find the best possible moment for construction to begin.

Photo of the Charles Bridge and Old Town Bridge Tower, Prague

That is why we know for a minute exactly when the foundation stone was laid down. It happened on July 9, 1357, at 5:31 am. If we write these numbers as so "1357.", we will see we can read them from left to right and from right to left. People believed that such a magic formula would help the bridge to stand forever.

The construction of this 516 meters long and 9 meters wide bridge was completed at the beginning of the 15th century.

The bridge has three towers — two on the Lesser Town side and one on the Old Town side. The lower of the Lesser Town Towers (Romanesque, with a Renaissance façade) is part of the old Judith's Bridge. The higher one is from the 15th century.

Photo of Lesser Town Bridge Towers

As to the Old Town tower, Peter Parler built it in the 14th century. We can still see beautiful Gothic decorations on the facade, facing the Crusaders' Square. When passing through the tower, do not forget to look up. Paintings from the end of the 14th century are preserved here, and the keystone has the shape of a St. Wenceslas crown. The decorations on the facade facing the bridge were destroyed during the Swedish attack on Prague in 1648. The Swedes then managed to conquer the left bank of Vltava river, but their attempt to cross the bridge was unsuccessful.

Photo of the sculpture of Charles IV

In the middle of Crusaders' Square stands the sculpture of Charles IV, the King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor. This monument was erected to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the founding of the university in Prague. The female sculptures around it are symbolic figures of four parts of the medieval university: Faculty of Arts, Medicine, Law, and Theology.

There are 30 sculptures of saints on the bridge. Most of them appeared here in the 18th century during the Baroque period.

St.John of Nepomuk, sculpted by Jan Brokoff in 1683, is the oldest one. You can easily recognize him by the five stars around his head, and by the crowd of tourists. Legend says that Jan of Nepomuk was confessor to Sophia - the wife of King Wenceslas IV. He refused to reveal her secrets to the king, was tortured to death, and thrown from the bridge. People believe that if you touch the figure of St. John of Nepomuk on the relief and make a wish, it will undoubtedly come true.

Фотография скульптуры св.Яна Непомуцкого на Карловом мосту в Праге

There is also a cross on the balustrade approximately in the middle of the bridge. It marks the place where the saint was thrown into the river. Lay your hand on the cross and make another wish.

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