One of the most beautiful attractions of Prague is the medieval stone Charles Bridge linking the two historic halves of the city.
Charles Bridge scenic view at sunrise, Prague
Prague is famous for being one of the most romantic cities in Europe (along with Paris and Venice). The central attraction of the historic city of Prague is the Charles Bridge. Don’t rush visiting Prague, it is best to allow at least three days to explore and soak in the atmosphere of Prague. Arguably Prague is even more beautiful than Paris (although that’s naturally subjective).
Prague is one of the most scenic cities in Europe – the Baroque and Gothic architecture also makes it a great destination to visit in the winter. If one is going to Prague during the Halloween season, then the spookiest attraction just out of the city is the Sedlec Ossuary where one can see a chapel full of sculpture art of human bones.
History Of The Important Medieval Charles Bridge Of Prague
Charles Bridge is called Karlův most in the Czech language and is a stunning medieval stone arch bridge. It crosses the Vltava river and was built in 1357 by King Charles IV (it was finished in the early 15th century). Originally, the bridge was called Stone Bridge (Kamenny most) or Prague Bridge (Prazsky most), but since 1870 it has been known as “Charles Bridge”.
The bridge replaced the older Judith Bridge that was built between 1158 and 1172 (which was badly damaged in a flood during 1342). It was a very important bridge for most of its history being the only crossing of the Vltava River until 1841. It served as an important trade route between Western and Eastern Europe. Today it is closed to vehicular traffic and is a very popular pedestrian bridge.
Charles Bridge connects the stunning Prague Castle with Prague’s Old Town (they are on opposing sides of the river).
Size & Beauty Of The Charles Bridge
Charles Bridge is a bow bridge with 16 arches (which are protected by ice guards) and is a testament to medieval engineering.
- Length: 516 meters or 1,693 feet
- Width: Around 10 meters or 33 feet
The three bridge towers and its alley of 30 dark statues and statuaries (mostly baroque) make it one of the most beautiful bridges on the planet. Two of the bridge towers are on the Lesser Quarter side and the other is on the Old Town side (called the Old Town Bridge Tower). The Old Town Bridge Tower is regarded as one of the most beautiful Gothic gateways in the world. It was also conceived as a symbolic victory arch that Czech kings could pass through on their coronation processions.
The statues were erected around 300 years ago – although today they are all replica replacements. Most of the statues were placed there between 1683 and 1714, and they depict various saints and patron saints. The original statutes were replaced with replicas beginning in 1965, today the original statues can be seen exhibited in the Lapidarium of the National Museum.
Some of the most noted statues are those of the Holy Crucifix and Calvary, John of Nepomuk, and St. Luthgard.
What To Expect Visiting The Charles Bridge
Today the Charles Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in the heart of the Old Town of Prague. It is the main pedestrian connection between the two sides of Prague and is something every visitor to the city will explore.
- Admission Fee: None
- Hours: 24/7
The bridge is free and open to pedestrians (the bridge toll has not been collected for 200 years). There are numerous cafés and restaurants on either end of the bridge. On the bridge, one can expect to see a number of performers and people selling various souvenirs. It is common to see people handing out leaflets for classic operas and other events in Prague.
The bridge towers on the bridge are true ambassadors of medieval times – in the past, it was possible to see decapitated heads hanging from them. Today they are tourist attractions and are a must for visitors to climb the 138 steps to the viewing gallery.
- Opening Hours: Summer Hours 9.00 am to 9.00 pm (vary seasonally)
- Entrance Fee: 150 CZK ($6.50)
Come during the first hour of opening and enjoy a 50% reduction in the price of climbing the towers. The bridge and the towers are one of the most romantic places in Prague and one of the best places to take Instagram pictures.