Charles Bridge is a 14th century stone bridge connecting the two sides of Prague. This magnificent structure, one of the city’s finest attractions, is the main pedestrian route connecting the Old Town with the Lesser Town / Prague Castle.
From Charles Bridge visitors can enjoy fairy-tale views of Prague. The wide expanse of the Vltava River flows beneath it, flanked on both sides by elegant buildings and Prague Castle towers above in its eminent position.
Charles Bridge is crossed during the day by thousands of people. It is common to find artists and musicians playing on the bridge; look out for the jazz band, who are particularly entertaining. But to give a truly romantic and less crowded walk, try early morning or any time of the night.
King Charles IV commissioned the bridge. The foundation stone was laid in 1357. Charles IV’s favourite architect and builder, Peter Parler, oversaw the majority of the work. The initial idea was to build a functional construction for knight tournaments, and for many years the only decoration on the bridge was a simple crucifix. Later, the Catholic desire for ornamentation resulted in 30 statues being erected between 1600 and 1800.
There are 75 statues on Charles Bridge, most of them copies, as floods and catastrophes over the centuries damaged the originals. The oldest, is the one of John of Nepomuk (8th from the right as you cross towards Prague Castle).
The entrance to Charles Bridge is marked at both ends by towers: The Lesser Town Bridge and the Old Town Bridge Tower.