Results 1-10of 32 Reviews
Sunderland, United Kingdom
September 14, 2009
From journal 4 Days in Prague
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
July 28, 2006
From journal Prague Bits and Pieces
December 17, 2004
The bridge, built in the mid-1300s by (yes, you’ve guessed) Charles IV, is an amazing structure to have survived all those years and the torrent of the mighty river below. In its day, it would have carried all the traffic between the old town and the little quarter with up to four carriages abreast. Now it only takes foot-travellers!
Originally there was a single simple cross on the bridge - now there are 30 statues and countless street lamps. The earliest statue is from the early 1600s, and the most modern is 1938, although I was a little disappointed to read that most of the sculptures are copies and were erected to ensure the preservation of the original pieces. Understandable I guess.
We entered for the Little Quarter Side, through the arch separating the 12th-century Judith and the taller Little Quarter Bridge Towers. These two towers, alongside the Old Bridge Tower at the other end, have a classic pinnacled wedge spire, as early fortifications would have protected the town from any attempts to enter via the river. There are too many statues to mention, but I would suggest you keep an eye out for the earliest one (1638) to St John Nepomuk. This has a carved plaque depicting the martyrdom of the aforementioned saint, which has a brightly polished section that people have rubbed for good luck. Poppycock – but I joined the queue to have a quick rub. You can’t be too careful, can you?
St Wenceslas, St Vitus, St Luitgard (said to be artistically the best), St Francis of Assisi, and St John the Baptist are all worth a longer linger, but if you’re like me, you’ll want to study them all and enjoy the ambiance of life on the bridge. Climb the gothic Old Town Bridge Tower and enjoy some superb views of the castle, the little quarter, and of course, the classic view of Charles Bridge. Don’t forget to appreciate the internal splendour of the tower itself whilst there!
Do make sure that you visit at night because then the place takes on a different feel, and the lights of the town are supreme when viewed from the bridge.
From journal A hectic 5 days in Prague
by Armed With Passport
Miromar Lakes, Florida
July 10, 2001
At dawn, the bridge is eerily silent. The touristic multitudes are still in their hotels nursing pilsener hangovers or else gorging themselves on their hotel's breakfast spread. The people that make their living on the bridge are methodically setting up shop; they are opening blankets on which to place their wares or setting up easels to show their art. The river gurgles beneath and sometime creates a fog which winds its way around the statues, often half obscuring their visages. This is the best time, in my opinion to see the bridge.
After the sun has offically made its appearance and now hangs high in the sky, the tourists enter. Beware of the following:
Americans with camcorders and fannypacks
Hordes of adolescents with matching orange backpacks traveling in a group of no less than fifty
Pickpockets and thieves looking for wallets and fannypacks
Aggressive vendors trying to sell you something that you could never hope to want or need.
As you may have already guessed, this is the worst time to go to the bridge, although it certainly was an experience.
At sundown the statues are as creepily silhouetted as they were in the morning. From the bridge, you can watch the sun set over Prague, as it lends pastel life to the surrounding shadow and stone. The vendors have packed up and left, but now the youth of Prague have taken over. They are sitting on the cobblestone on the bridge, consuming tobacco and beer in healthy amounts. At different spots on the bridge are various groups, usually singing or dancing along to guitar or drums or both. This is also a nice time to go to the bridge, if only to say, "I would have hung out here if I were younger."
Quick historical facts about the bridge:
It is named after the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, who appointed a German, Peter Parler, to build an effective bridge across the Vltava in 1357.
There are 30 statues of Baroque saints adorning the bridge, but most of these are recreations (The originals had to be removed to be protected from the elements).
The eighth statue on the right (coming from the Old Town side) is Jan Nepomunk, who was thrown off the bridge by King Wenceslas IV, for failing to betray Queen Sofie. It is the oldest statue remaining, designed in 1683.
From journal Pragmatically Probing Prague
by Wildcat Dianne
January 1, 2003
If something happens and I can't contact you, remember this: Charles Bridge, in Prague. After it's over, go to that bridge, ever Tuesday and Friday morning, until I find you.--Mirek to Blanka in the Holocaust memoir The Oasis by Petru Popescu.
One of the most beautiful and popular sites in Prague is the Karluv Most (Charles Bridge). Commissioned in 1357 by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and completed in the same year, the Karluv Most became for almost 500 years the only road leading to and from Hradcany and Prasky Hrad (Prague Castle).
The Karluv Most is famous for its statues lining the path to Hradcany with the two most famous statues being The Crucifix, which is a statue of John Neponuk, one of the Czech Republic's patron saints. During the 14th Century, John Neponuk was the Bohemian Queen's confessor, but her control freak husband, the King, wanted to know all of the Queen's sins, and told John Neponuk to tell him, but he refused to kiss and tell and the King had John Neponuk tortured by his men. Still, John Neponuk wouldn't spill the goods on the Queen, and he was killed and thrown off the Karluv Most. Legend has it that five stars appeared where Neponuk hit the water, and these five stars are part of his statue, and if one rubs the statue's shiny spot, it is supposed to bring them good luck. So, that's why the Red Sox won the World Series two years after my visit!
The other popular statue along Karluv Most is The Crucifix, which became a stopping point for condemned criminals and political prisoners to pray on the way to execution in Old Town Square. The Karluv Most Tower is available for climbing daily for a small fee until dusk.
When we visited the Karluv Most in July 2002, it was a hot Saturday afternoon. The bridge was very crowded with locals enjoying the afternoon, tons of tourists, and several craft booths and musicians selling their wares. We didn't climb the tower, but we rubbed the statue of John Neponuk and stopped to admire the view of the Vltava River, which is the main waterway running through Prague. From Karluv Most, you can get a beautiful view of the Hradcany District and Prasky Hrad (Prague Castle).
Unfortunately, we were in Prague for only a day, and I was bummed that I couldn't admire the Karluv Most during the best time of the day, early morning when the tourists and their buses are gone, and the locals are out and about getting their business done. I will have to return someday!
From journal Golden Prague
April 8, 2002
The 516m long, 10m wide sandstone-bridge is supported by 16 piers that, according to legend, owe their strength and longevity to the eggs that were mixed into the mortar that holds them together. The bridge quickly became a site of great importance and was the setting for trading, law courts, jousting, and even warfare.
What draws the crowd here however is the open-air gallery of Baroque statues that has evolved here over the centuries. The first, a 1683 bronze statue of Sv.Jan Nepomucký by J.Brokoff, is said to mark the spot from where King Václav (Wenceslas) IV (r.1378-1419) had the queens confessor drowned supposedly for refusing to divulge the queen’s secrets or even for having an affair with the queen, but more likely due to a political disagreement over the confirmation of the new Abbot of Kladruby. The statue was placed here by the Jesuits as part of a campaign to get this martyred bishop canonised, and should be rubbed for good luck. The success of this campaign lead to many other statues being added, including some from leading Czech sculptors M.B.Braun and F.M.Brokoff; the rest are largely copies of inferior 19th-century sandstone works, the badly-worn originals of which are on display in the Lapidárium at Holešovice. One curiosity is the 1696 bronze cross with a Hebrew Inscription reading, "Holy, Holy, Holy God", which, according to legend, was erected at the order of the court by a Jew who had blasphemed against the cross.
The bridge is framed by imposing towers that are well worth a look. The tower in Staré Město (Old Town) is decorated on the landward side with the ornate coats of arms that were part of Parler’s original decorations while the riverward side still shows scars from the battle against the Swedes. The smaller of the two towers in Malá Strana (Little Quarter) is the last remnant of the 1170 Judith Bridge, which spanned the river here until the floods of 1342. Both towers are climbable and offer an excellent opportunity to escape the crowds.
From journal Prague’s Old Town: City of a Hundred Spires and a Billion Tourists
Manhattan, New York
December 28, 2001
Our walk across this bridge became an unexpected attraction in itself. We read about the statues in advance, expecting to see them from the corner of our eye while walking towards the castle. What the guide said was a ten-minute walk across became a rich experience taking more than an hour.
To begin with, once arriving on the bridge, the castle side, its walls and spires are so awesome that you are pulled into focus. On the bridge, mesmerized by the beauty of what lies on the other side, you almost miss the Old Town Bridge Tower on your left and the statue of Charles IV on the right. As you look back towards the old town you see the glorious skyline whose lanes and squares you’ve just been enchanted with. Nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming experience as you do a 360-degree turn and take in the Glory and Majesty of this place called Prague.
What was created for practical purposes of allowing access above flood waters between two points for the local townsfolk, eventually became a landmark attraction and a historical monument renamed in the late 19th century to honor Charles the 4th, the Holy Roman Emperor.
The wonderful treat about walking across this Gothic bridge is that it’s a people bridge with no motor traffic. One can take their time viewing the thirty Baroque statues and sculptural groups that line the sides (15 per side). While several of these are copies (many of the originals were moved to museums in and around the Czech Republic) they all have a warm and wonderful patina and each one has a history behind it.
My favorite, on the right side, is a Crucifixion scene that includes a large 17th century Hebrew inscription (see the photo below). A rich Czech Jew that was accused of blasphemy paid for this. Can’t wait for my friend Marty to translate the inscription – I’ll share it when I know. Further down, midway, is a bronze (dated 1863, the oldest original work on the bridge) honoring a local Martyr. St. John of Nepomuk was drowned at this spot three centuries before on the orders of King Wenceslas IV. Supposedly the priest was executed for refusing to reveal the confessions of the king’s wife. Actually, his offence was political, having sided with the archbishop in a dispute with the good king.
Beyond, left side, is an 18th Century statue of St. Lutgard kissing the wounds of Christ. Further, before you reach the two Gothic Towers connected by an arch welcoming you to Mala Strana, is a gruesome sculptural grouping with an intimidating view of Christians being held captive and guarded by a Turkish jailer, armed by a scimitar and barbed whip.
An hour later, not distracted by the artists and vendors selling their wares between the various statues, we arrived at the Mala Strana Gate.
(I’ll write a separate entry on the Castle)
From journal PRAGUE Glorious PRAGUE
by Taylor Shelby
Charleston, South Carolina
February 15, 2005
It was still crowded, perhaps more so, but I had grown a foot and a half and could see the beauty I had not recognized before. I happened upon it at a wonderful time - sunset. The sun was spilling over the old hill, illuminating the many statues of saints and kings, like god himself calling them home. I did not even realize I had stopped, gaping at the sight, until a small Japanese woman crashed into the back of me. We were both startled, and I quickly came to my senses.
Walking down this ancient bridge, a tactile link to a world long gone, is an experience I will never forget. There was music coming from all directions. Some notes came from traditional Czech folk songs, playing along to a woman giving a puppet show with the ubiquitous marionettes that are on every (touristy) corner. Others were the strains of classic rock and new techno that artists and artisans were listening to as they sold a great variety of art, crafts, and kitsch. Fighting the crowds, I vowed to find a time when I would have the bridge to myself.
Two days later, I heaved myself out of bed at 5am, determined to take the perfect picture of the bridge. After catching the very first subway run of the day, I found the bridge shrouded in beautiful, impossibly picturesque mists. I did not have it all to myself. There were a number of ducks and a few other photographers vying for the perfect shot, but I felt I could happily share the bridge with them. And, of course, the solemn statues lending their gazes to the morning.
Walking back to the subway, certain I had photographic gold in my camera, I realized that both the bridge scenes- foggy and empty, and glowing and crowded - could coexist on one ancient, glorious bridge.
From journal My Heart, My Prague
by Gwilym Owen
March 1, 2004
Designed by Peter Parler, the bridge's 30 famous statues began to be added to the buttress plinths over a century later with the first one being St John Nepomuk in 1683, a rival of Jan Hus he came to a very sticky end with his tortured body being thrown from this very bridge. . .
After that the bridge's plinths filled up very quickly, especially during the early 18th century, with representations of some of the countries most famous saints. Indeed so many statues have been created that half a dozen spares reside in the Casemates under the imposing remains of the Vysehrad Fortress to the south of the centre of Prague.
The Bridge is 'bookended' by two impressive towers which can both be visited and afford excellent elevated views of the bridge and the river below. . .
From journal Back in Time in Prague. . .
St. Louis, Missouri
July 27, 2003
Expect this pedestian bridge to be packed full of tourists and street vendors, especially if you go here during the summer. Most of the venders we saw were very good at their work! The artworks (mostly water color paintings) were amazing, as were the musicians (there was an older fellow playing a saxophone to the crowd and further down was a 4 man Big Band era group that was really amazing!). Charles Bridge has become one of the major tourist spots in Prague. If you want to see it when it's less crowded, come very early in the morning. It also wasn't as crowded when we were there at night.
From journal Prague--"The City of One Hundred Towers and Spires