"Karluv Most" Charles Bridge Tip by Pieter11
Charles Bridge, Prague: 413 reviews and 765 photos
The famous Charles Bridge, Karluv Most, is the heart of Prague. It connects both sides of the city, giving a great view of Stare Mesto and Mala Strana. The bridge is 516 m long, 10 m wide and is only opened for pedestrians.
The construction of the Charles Bridge started in 1357. At that time it beacme the only stone bridge over the Vltava, but it was not the first. The Judith Bridge was the first one, but collapsed in 1342. The construction of the new bridge was ordered by King Charles IV and done by architect Petr Parler and took until 1500. 16 arches cross the 332 m wide river. At both ends a part is added to have a save crossing during floods. Until 1840 it stayed the only bridge of Prague.
At the side of Stare Mesto, Petr Parler also built a tower to defend the city. The king ordered to place statues in the walls to show his greatness. In the top you see 2 Bohemean saints, and below that St Vitus and a statue of Charles IV and his son Vaclav IV. 15 shields in the tower represent 15 states that were united during Charles IV's regime. Throughout the centuries the tower was damaged lots of times by shootings, but every time it all was restaured again.
The most famous thing about Charles Bridge are the statues that decorate it at both sides. In 1683-1715 the original 30 statues of saints were placed on the bridge. This was a good way to educate the citizens, as they weren't able to read in those days. The statues told them a lot about good and bad. Throughout the centuries it happened a lot that statues 'drowned' in the river as they fell of. Often they were replaced, but in 1857 some statues were changed or added. Even in the 20th century some statues of national saints were added to emphasize the national pride.
Today the bridge is a crowdy place, that looks more like a market then a place of education. At both sides of the bridge salesmen and artists fight for the tourists' attention, ruining the beauty of the place. If you're able to see through this, Charles Bridge really is a fantastic place to walk.
Address: Karluv most
Directions: Connectiong Old Town and Lesser Town
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