Charles Bridge

Another of our common stops will be a place very popular and frequently visited by the tourists. It is the second oldest bridge in the Czech Republic and at the same time the oldest standing bridge over the river Vltava in Prague. If you take the Royal Route the Charles Bridge will transfer you to the other side of the river because it is an important connection between the Lesser Town and the Old Town. Let´s explore one of the most significant monuments of Prague and the whole country.

Charles Bridge

How did it all begin? Charles Bridge and Prague Castle
At the place of the today´s Charles Bridge the Judith Bridge used to stand. The oldest bridge of its times was built in the Bohemian lands around 1158. However, it collapsed during the spring flood in 1342. A new bridge was constructed in 1357 thank to its founder, the Emperor Charles IV., after whom it was later named.  First its name was the Stone Bridge and the Prague Bridge and it got its current name in 1870. The construction of this beautiful work wasn´t completed until 1402. Gradually the bridge received thirty important Baroque statues and groups of statues.

Charles Bridge Several curiosities for the start
The actual bridge composed of sixteen huge arches is 515,76 metres long and  up to 9,50 metres wide. There are giant towers on both sides of the construction, namely the Lesser Town Bridge Tower on one side and the Old Town Bridge Tower on the opposite side.

One of the Prague´s gems is the work of the architect Petr Parléř. According to a legend eggs had been added into the mortar. The scientific surveys from 2008 show that  the legend was true. However, the theory was displaced in 2010. Yet it has been confirmed that the mortar was mixed with milk and wine.

Reconstruction of the monument Charles Bridge  - Statue of John of Nepomuk (or John Nepomucene) is a national saint of the Czech Republic
Three arches collapsed
during the flood in 1890. They were temporarily replaced by a ti

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mber construction. The bridge was reconstructed into its original condition and the works were completed in 1892. A construction survey between 1966–1967 detected small cracks threatening the bridge, which had to be removed without delay to prevent the bridge from its opening with rainwater. The total reparation costs reached fifty millions Czech crowns. The next and so far the last extensive reconstruction in the name of the preservation of the bridge started in 2007.

The bridge as we do not know it
The bridge experienced several types of the transport vehicles. From 1883 the horse-tram was in service here, which was replaced by the electric tram. The trams were too heavy so they were replaced by the buses. Their operation was interrupted in 1909 and in 1932 buses on tires were introduced here. The public transport was functional this way until the WW2. The traffic of the automobiles was over in 1965 and since the bridge has been determined  for the passengers only.


A curiosity:
In 1393 the king Wenceslas IV. let throw the body of the general vicar John of Nepomuk (or John Nepomucene), who had been tortured to death, down into the river Vltava. A small metallic cross is o be found in the stone railing at the place of the scene. So do not forget to take a look at it.

Lucie Niebauerová

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