Prague's Charles Bridge holds deep significance for the Czech Republic's capital. In the warmer months, the bridge is filled with throngs of people strolling across, enjoying the sights and relishing in a look at the long history of the Charles Bridge through the many statues adorning it. On the nicest days, Charles Bridge in Prague is packed with locals, tourists, musicians, street artists, and others who all gather at this central meeting point. It can be a great place for unique souvenir shopping from local vendors. Anyone wanting to get a better look at the bridge without the crowds should plan to head out in the early morning or later in the evening. Both these times are fantastic for photographs and some beautiful, undisturbed views of the capital in the immediate area.
Charles Bridge history dates back to the fourteenth century when the initial construction phase on the foundation began. Commissioned by King Charles IV, the building of the Charles Bridge in Prague was overseen by the king's best-liked German architect, Peter Parler, who also designed and oversaw the building of Saint Vitus Cathedral. Before the Charles Bridge statues lined this popular transit way, and it became a must-see tourist attraction, its original function was meant to be for knight tournaments. During this historical period, the bridge was simply decorated with one, solitary crucifix. The Charles Bridge statues were erected more than two decades later, between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.
Built entirely of stone, Charles Bridge is designed in true Gothic style and connects Mala Strana, a popular city quarter skirting the Prague Castle foothills, to Prague's Old Town, another must-see during Prague vacations. Below the bridge, there are numerous arching underpasses where visitors can watch boats cruise by. These underpasses offer an extremely appealing aesthetic to the bridge while remaining functional in every way. One of the legends behind the bridge is that egg yolks were used in the mortar mix to enforce the final product.
Charles Bridge is both a popular pedestrian thoroughfare as well as a significant part of city history. The scenic views from the bridge, as well as the Charles Bridge statues, combine to create one of the most elegant attractions in Prague. Sadly, many of the original 75 Charles Bridge statues are replicas which have replaced ruined statues over the years. Along both sides of the bridge, the saints stand as sentries, overlooking the city and river. Both north side and south side views each depict a unique perspective of the Charles Bridge in Prague. North-side statues include St. Vitus, Cosmas and Damian, St Augustine, and St. John of Nepomuk, one of the most revered Charles Bridge statues as well as one of the oldest. South-side views include St. Lutgard, Saints Vincent Ferrer and Procopius, and St. Francis of Assisi among many others.
There are many things to do in the city of Prague that will likely have you crossing the bridge over the Vltava River to reach several top attractions. There are many tours available that make looking around easy and convenient. Acting as your own tour guide is an easy feat too, with plenty of nearby attractions to explore like the Church of Our Lady Victorious, the Jewish Quarter and several important museums. The bridge is the only way of crossing the Vltava, making it as much of a crucial city requirement as it is a cherished historical site.