Charles Bridge in Prague (Czech Republic) - Stone Bridge / the Prague Bridge on Wltava River
Location show on map
Prague, Czech Republic
Date of build
The oldest Prague bridge is located on the Vltava River and connects two districts of Prague, from the right bank of the Old Town, and from the left district of Malá Strana.
Built at the request of the then King - Charles VI, this longest Prague bridge is named after Karol only from 1870, in the past it was called the Stone Bridge or the Prague Bridge. Until 1841, he was the only bridge across the river Vltava in Prague.
Originally there was an old wooden bridge in this place (until destruction due to the flood in 1157). Another bridge that stood in this place was the bridge called "Judyta", it was completed in 1172, but like the predecessor was destroyed by the flood on February 3, 1342.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the bridge was plagued by more floods. In 1784, one of them broke the part of the bridge with a pillar on which stood a military watchtower. In 1890, part of the bridge collapsed with two pillars.
There are towers on both sides of the bridge, Staromiejska Wieża Mostowa (built at the end of the 14th century) from the Old Town and two Lesser Town Towers from the side of Malej Strany . The lower of the Małostranian towers is called Judyta and comes from the twelfth century.
Built at the end of the 14th century, the Old Town Gate Bridge is one of the most beautiful buildings of this type in Europe. You can climb the tower to admire the panorama of the city with the Charles Bridge.
Currently, this bridge with a width of 9.5 meters can be crossed only on foot. In the past, trams ran there (from 1883 to 1908), later buses (1908 - 1909, and 1932 - 1939) and cars (until 1965).
The construction of the bridge was started exactly on July 9, 1357 at 5:31. Date and time were chosen by astronomers (then there was a conjunction of the Sun with Saturn) and refers to the sequence of odd numbers from 1 to 9 and back: 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1.
The building structure consists of sandstone blocks joined with mortar reinforced with chicken eggs (although scientists from the University of Chemistry and Technology have disproved this theory finding only traces of milk and wine in mortar). From the very beginning, the bridge has a paving surface.
The building is based on 16 pillars, of which 12 have foundations under water. Foundations were placed up to a depth of 2.4 meters below the bottom of the river.
From 1683 to 1928, 30 Baroque statues of saints and patrons appeared on the bridge. From 1965, in order to protect against floods and weather conditions, the original figures were moved to the lapidarium at the National Museum in Prague, replacing them with copies of, among others, made in the Max workshop.
On March 20, 1393, on the order of King Wenceslaus IV of Luxembourg from the Charles Bridge, Saints was thrown into the Vltava River. John of Nepomuk (later patron of the city). The figure of Nepomuk according to legend brings luck. Touch the bas-relief located under the statue.
Once on the bridge there were coronations of Czech kings, numerous tournaments and battles, as well as executions. During the Thirty Years' War, the battles with the Swedish army were fought on the bridge. Currently, in addition to tourists from around the world, you can meet numerous artists and street musicians. There are so many of them here that in 1990 they created the Association of Charles Bridge Artists.
In 2002, the city suffered the largest flood in 500 years. Fortunately, the monument did not suffer any injuries, but after this incident thorough maintenance works were started, thanks to which the bridge will be protected against air pollution and subsequent floods. During the renovation, many stone parts were replaced, which were replaced with new ones, were thrown to the Vltava, which upset the inhabitants.
The largest number of concurrent people experienced the bridge in 1989, when it simultaneously held 1,562 people.
Official website: http://www.charlesbridgemuseum.com
"The rare and most valuable jewel of Prague" - described in the old chronicles of the bridge
"In addition to the fire of the National Theater, Prague did not experience an event that would shock it as much as the destruction of the Charles bridge" - praska
"The Prague bridge has long been considered the most famous monument of Prague. Just as one talks about the leaning tower in Pisa or the Egyptian pyramids, travelers who, in their journeys, hooked up to Praga, primarily talk about its bridge. In ancient times, even for people who were in the world, it was a miracle of technology, a magical product of spirit and hands. Later, when stone bridges were no longer a rarity in Europe, the old bridge maintained its dominant position among the Prague monuments thanks to the historical memories associated with it and thanks to the unique sculptures that adorn it. The bridge has its legend and its history. It was believed that it connects the banks of the Vltava River from ancient times." - Krejčí: Praga. Legend and reality