Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic, is a city full of beauties and mystery with a great history that still live through its monuments, streets and buildings. Center of the economical and political power for the Eastern Europe, Prague is a place to visit at least once in a lifetime. The city’s most famous monument, Charles Bridge, is a stunning gothic-style masterpiece that is unique in the world. Let’s take a look.
Charles Bridge from the Stare Mesto area perspective
Charles Bridge, crossing the Vltava river, is the oldest bridge of Prague and connects the city’s two main historical areas, Stare Mesto and Mala Strana, at the center of the city (Praha 1).
Our walk over Charles Bridge starts from Křižovnické náměstí in Stare Mesto Area, a nice square where you can find a king Charles IV statue and visit the Church of St Francis Seraph and Holy Salvator Church (Clementinum, Prague).
At the beginning of Charles Bridge, you will find the “Old Town bridge tower”, a beautiful Gothic tower started in 1360 for the will of king Charles IV. You can see the tower on the picture.. The tower is 40 meters high and it was one of the defensive doors of the city. The medieval decorations had the function to remind to citizens who were the spiritual guides of the kingdom: St. Vitus, St. Wenceslas, Charles IV and above them St. Sigmund and St. Adalbert.
The Charles Bridge complex of statues, the baroque triumph of Prague
Added around the XVII century, the Charles Bridge rich complex of statues consists in 30 baroque elements which represents the Saint that were particularly revered during the Baroque era of Bohemia (the kingdom that became the Czech Republic).
Walking across this bridge, and watching its statues in succession is an incredible experience, especially at dawn or after midnight, when people start leaving this beautiful spot and you can focus more on the monuments itself and the Vltava river landscape.
In the last years has been proposed a restoration of the complex of statues but Prague citizens refused this offer because the renovation would take away Charles Bridge’s dark Gothic charm.
Saint John of Nepomuk statue, it's time to make a wish!
Halfway you can notice a crowd of people staring and touching one specific statue, don’t be shy and join them in their touching of the famous Saint John of Nepomuk effigies. Saint John of Nepomuk is the protector of Bohemia and there are various legends around his personality. The main legend states that when he was been drowned into the Vltava river, five stars hovered over the water, which is why he is often represented with a five stars halo. The legend also states that by touching his effigies you can make a wish that would be granted by the Saint.
Enjoy some great food at the market under the bridge
One pleasant surprise of this walk across Charles Bridge is this typical Czech market, just under the bridge. Close to the end of the bridge you will find stairs that will lead you to this market area. Covered by a blanket of trees, the market offers to visitors a great variety of foods: traditional Czech dishes, typical beers and wines, French cheese, a great variety of cured meats, as well as foods from different world areas. If you are lucky you can also find some musicians properly hired by the city, who could cheer up your market experience.
The end of the bridge and the beginning of Mala Strana area
At the end of the bridge you will come across the elegant area of Mala Strana where your next itinerary could start. Charles Bridge, one of the symbols of Prague, will leave you breathless for his contents in matter of history and arts. Enjoy its beauty especially during dawn or after midnight and walk across it at least twice to experience two different views: from Stare Mesto to Mala Strana and from Mala Strana to Stare Mesto.
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