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.
After the Thirty Years War, Charles Bridge became an impressive open-air gallery for baroque statues.
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 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 reliefs hoping for their wish to be fulfilled. Little do they know, it is the only place for the wish-making. Join our Prague Free Walking 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.)
Most of the statues on Charles Bridge are made of sandstone. This material is very sensitive to air pollution and thus overtime 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.
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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.