Charles Bridge is Prague is one of the most famous bridges in Europe. The bridge is one of the three most important sights of Prague along with the Prague Castle and the Old Town Square. The crossing over the Vltava River is over 500 metres long and dates from the 14th century. Today it can only be used by pedestrians, even cycling is forbidden. In the past, horse-drawn carriages and a tram also crossed the central bridge over the Vltava River. The Czech name of the building over the Vltava is “Karluv most”, English “Charles Bridge”.
Brief overview History of the Charles Bridge
As early as the 10th century, attempts were made to build a wooden bridge over the Vltava River in Prague. Several bridges were built on the site of today’s Charles Bridge, but they were destroyed by floods. In the 12th century a stone bridge called Judith Bridge was built for the first time. It stood almost 200 years until it was also destroyed in the biggest flood disaster in the history of Europe (the famous Magdelen flood) in 1342.
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Afterwards it was decided to build a solid stone bridge based on the model of the Danube bridge in Regensburg, Germany (12th century). In 1357 the construction of the Charles Bridge began. As in Regensburg, it is a stone arch bridge with 16 arches. Both bridges (Regensburg and Prague) were often damaged in their long history. However, they could be repaired again and again and still exist today. The Charles Bridge in Prague is even much bigger than the stone bridge in Regensburg over the Danube. The Prague Charles Bridge has a length of 512 metres and a width of 10 metres. The stone bridge in Regensburg is 336 metres long and 8 metres wide. Both medieval bridges are marvels of technology.
Charles Bridge Prague (formerly known simply as Prague Bridge) was for many centuries the only bridge over the Vltava River in Prague and the surrounding area, so it was very important. Today it is above all a tourist attraction for many tourists, but still the fastest connection between the two parts of Prague’s Old Town on the western and eastern sides of the Vltava for pedestrians. The many statues and the two bridge towers are also very popular with tourists.
Places of interest on and near the Charles Bridge
From the bridge you have a beautiful view of the river Vltava including the many ships. Mostly there are passenger ships with tourists passing under one of the 16 arches of the Charles Bridge of Prague. Of course the Charles Bridge is also a great sight from the ships. Every day thousands of tourists make a boat trip out of the Vltava, especially in summer.
Charles Bridge Prague is a place for artists. Painters sell their paintings or make portraits of tourists.
Street musicians often perform in front of large audiences. These are often small groups of musicians, such as students, who play classical music that matches the mood. A very popular instrument of the musicians is the violin. Dealers sell some of the jewellery they make themselves.
On both sides of the Karluv Most there are so-called bridge towers. The tower on the old town side (east of the bridge) is called the Old Town Bridge Tower, the tower on the west is called the Prague Castle Kleinseitner Bridge Tower.
The many statues (stone figures) on the bridge are also important. For many visitors they are above all a great photo motif. Generally the Charles Bridge seems to be popular for photos among tourists. Nowhere in Prague can you see more people taking pictures. The most famous figure on the bridge is Jan Nepomuk.
The priests were executed in 1393 on Charles Bridge. He was simply thrown off the bridge. There is also a commemorative plaque on Charles Bridge which is very often photographed.
The 20 other figures on Charles Bridge are also mainly saints. Almost all statues are relatively new (18th and 19th century). Among them are, for example, John the Baptist as well as the persons from the Middle Ages, Wenceslas of Bohemia and Ludmilla of Bohemia, who are well known in the Czech Republic.
If you are interested in the Prague Charles Bridge, you should definitely visit the Charles Bridge Museum. It is right next to the bridge on the side of the Old Town. The entrance fee for the Karlovy Vary Museum is 170 crowns for adults (about 6.50 euros, as of June 2017, significant discounts for children, students and families). Especially the history of the bridge and its predecessors such as the Judith Bridge of Prague are presented in an interesting way in the Museum of Charles Bridge. Czech name: Muzeum Karlova Mostu, English name: Charles Bridge Museum
Approach Charles Bridge Prague
It’s best to use public transport. Due to the difficult parking conditions in downtown Prague, it is not easy to get there by car. Many tram lines and the Prague subway stop near Charles Bridge Prague. There is no metro station directly at Charles Bridge, but some are not far away.
The best underground station is Staromestska (line A, green line), but also Malostranska (same line) is not far away. From the yellow subway B you can walk a few minutes more from Mustek station to the most famous bridge in the Czech Republic, from the red line C Muzeum is the best station. If you don’t want to go too far, you can change to line A at Muzeum station and continue to Staromestska.
Very close tram stops are for example Karlovy Iazne or the Staromestska stop. On the other side of the Vltava (castle side) is the next stop Malostranske namesti (many tram lines).
Short Video Charles Bridge Prague
Prague Charles Bridge entrance fee and opening hours
Since the Charles Bridge in Prague is a public bridge with a footpath, you can visit or cross it at any time free of charge. Especially in summer there is a lot going on at night. The bridge has become a meeting place for young people from all over the world.
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The problem: Using public transport from the airport to the hotel in Prague is not easy. You first have to take the airport bus to the subway, then take the subway to the city centre and then usually take the tram to the hotel. Sometimes there are no escalators (carrying suitcases) in the subway. Above all, it is not easy to find the right bus or tram in a foreign city.
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