Charles Bridge Prague - Statues
Charles Bridge is definitely on the top Prague attractions list together with Astronomical Clock and Prague Castle. It is one of the longest bridges in Medieval Europe, 516 meters! Charles Bridge was started to be built in 1357 during the reign of Charles IV and finished only about 50 years later by his son Wenceslas IV. It was not the first-ever stone bridge in Prague but had been the only one for 450 years, so it's impossible to imagine the Czech capital without it.
Charles Bridge connects the most important must-see places in Prague, the Old Town, and the Prague Castle District. Even Charles IV crossed it on his way to be crowned in the St. Vitus Cathedral, which started the tradition for all kings to come. The road to the castle that Bohemian kings took is called the Royal Way, now the most popular tourist path in the city.
Charles Bridge Statues
After the Thirty Years War, Charles Bridge became an impressive open-air gallery for baroque statues.
How many statues does Charles Bridge have?
There are 31 statues of saints there, most of which are made of sandstone. Some of them are copies, but many are original statues! Among them is the famous St. John of Nepomuk who can fulfill your wishes. His legend says that this poor saint was thrown to the Vltava river from the Charles Bridge for refusing to reveal the secret of the queen's confession to the king. Later, the king's crime was uncovered in the light of 5 five stars that grace St. John of Nepomuk's head now. Nowadays, this statue is the most popular one on the Prague bridge, with hundreds of tourists coming to rub its relief hoping for their wish to be fulfilled. Little do they know, it is the only place for the wish-making. Join our Free Old Town, Jewish Qarter & Charles Bridge Tour to find out more :)
Unfortunately, the rest of the Charles Bridge statues are often neglected by Prague visitors. We want to fix that, so here are the statues on the most famous Prague bridge that you should look for! (Let's start from the Old Town side, just as Charles IV did.)
- Statue of the Virgin Mary, St. Dominic, and St. Thomas Aquinas. You can also see a cherub who is holding a beehive that looks just like Prague Trdelnik :)
- Statue of St. John the Baptist, who is pointing at the church of his religious order known as the Knight of Malta. The church is called the Virgin Mary under Chain and we recommend stopping by!
- Statue of St. Vitus, one of the patron saints of Bohemia. Yes, St. Vitus Cathedral is named after him in Prague!
- Statue of St. John of Matha, St. Felix of Valois, and St. Ivan the Hermit. Besides the aforementioned saints, this masterpiece of sculptor F.M. Brokoff depicts a slave owner and his dog guarding the captured Christians. Creepy, but eye-catching work!
Why are statues on Charles Bridge black?
Most of the statues on Charles Bridge are made of sandstone. This material is very sensitive to air pollution and thus over time turns darker until it's almost black. Some statues on Charles Bridge have been recently renovated, so you can see the original color of sandstone on these.
Fun facts about Charles Bridge:
- According to a Czech legend, the malt of the Charles Bridge was mixed with thousands of chicken eggs to ensure that the bridge stands firm for centuries to come. This insane amount of eggs could not be found in Prague, so nearby villages were called to aid. Having misunderstood the purpose of their task, one village brought already cooked eggs in fear they'd break on the way. We wouldn't rely on the smoothness of Medieval Czech roads either!
- Charles Bridge was used as a background for many movies, such as Spiderman Homecoming, XXX, and even Mission Impossible!
- Around 30,000 people cross Charles Bridge daily.
Our Local Guide Tip
- Visit the Museum of Charles Bridge's official website to find out more about its history!
- For the best view of Charles Bridge, visit one of its towers! We recommend the Old Town Tower as it also includes a small exhibition on its ticket.
- For all the morning photography enthusiasts, you can check out Prague Charles Bridge webcam before taking off for your sunrise pictures!
See more of our Prague Travel Tips.
Author: Valeriia Zahradnikova and Vaclav Zahradnik, Prague guides certified by Prague City Tourism agency. Valeriia and Vaclav have worked in tourism for over 6 years and have guided thousands of Prague visitors.