Attractions close to the Charles Bridge
- The King’s Walk
- Prague Castle
- Old Town
- Astronomical Clock
Unique Things to See and Do in Charles Bridge
- Good luck wish by touching the gold part of the Statue of St.John Nepomuk
History of the Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge as it stands today, originally replaced the Old Judith Bridge which was constructed in 1158-1172. The Judith Bridge had been badly damaged in a flood in 1342 and it took several years before the Charles Bridge was erected and ready for commuters again. The bridge had become an important trading route between eastern and western Europe. King Charles VI was said to have laid the first brick in the construction of it, or that’s the Czech legend that has been passed along.
King Charles IV had built it with a utilitarian purpose and not as an ornate structure, but it was the Catholic Church that instigated that bridge be decorated, and as a result the 13 statues where built in 1600-1800ad. Originally there was only the statue of the Holy Crucifix and Calvary. The one that stands today is not the original, in fact it had been destroyed several times over. Today there are over 75 statues, however they are not all originals- in fact most are replicas.
The Old Town Bridge Tower is beautiful with most of the decorations dating back to Baroque period (18th Century). The old gate, completed in 1380, was the protective force against invaders entering the Old city. Within the tower there are 138 steps to towers lookout. You can still climb the tower steps today and it’s open to the public most of the year.
On the other end of the bridge is Lesser Town Tower. This tower was built in 15th century and serves as the entrance to Lesser Town. Lesser town is a great area to visit with boutique shops, pubs, and restaurants. Inside the tower there is an exhibition retelling the history of the bridge along with battles won and lost.
Did you know…?
The Charles Bridge took 45 years to build- started in 1357 by Charles IV and was completed in 1402.
Did you ALSO know…?
From 1683 to 1928, 30 statues of saints were carved to decorate the bridge.
Getting to the Charles Bridge
Most people walk around in Prague, but if you are taking public transportation the Tram stop is Staromestska (trams 17, 18, 53). The Metro line stop is Staromestska (line A).
Best time to visit the Charles Bridge
Early morning is the best time to visit the bridge as there are fewer crowds and it’s a much more peaceful walk. However and evening walk across the bridge is simply stunning with all the lights and shadows of the gothic architecture.
During the winter months it can get quite snowy in Prague and the Charles Bridge looks magical at this time. Of course not many people travel in the winter but if you happen to you won’t be disappointed. Prague is like a fairy tale book and even more so in the winter. Of course the spring and fall are always a great time to travel in Europe, mainly because there are fewer crowds and the weather is warmer but not stifling.
Ready to plan your visit to Prague? Check out these popular guides and trips.