Charles Bridge is a medieval stone arch bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. It was built in the 14th and 15th centuries under the auspices of King Charles IV, who laid the first stone himself in 1357. The bridge replaced the old Judith Bridge, which was destroyed by a flood in 1342. The bridge is 516 meters long, 9.5 meters wide, and stands on 16 arches. It is decorated with 30 statues and statuaries, mostly in baroque style, and is protected by three bridge towers. The bridge is a part of the Royal Route, which leads from the Old Town to Prague Castle. The bridge is a popular tourist attraction and a cultural monument.
The bridge is open to pedestrians only and is free of charge. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, it can get very crowded during peak hours and seasons, so it is advisable to visit early in the morning or late in the evening. The bridge offers scenic views of the river and the city, especially at sunrise and sunset.
There are several ways to get to Charles Bridge from different parts of Prague. The nearest metro stations are Staroměstská on the green line A and Malostranská on the green line A and tram lines 12, 15, 20, and 22. The nearest tram stops are Karlovy lázně and Malostranské náměstí on tram lines 2, 12, 15, 18, 20, and 22. Alternatively, you can walk from the Old Town Square or the Lesser Town Square, which are both about 10 minutes away.
Some tips for visiting Charles Bridge are:
- Wear comfortable shoes and dress according to the weather.
- Beware of pickpockets and scammers who may try to sell you fake souvenirs or offer you services.
- Enjoy the street performers and artists who entertain visitors on the bridge.
- Respect the bridge and its statues by not climbing on them or touching them.
- Take photos from different angles and perspectives to capture the beauty of the bridge.
There are many tours that include Charles Bridge in their itinerary. Some of them are:
- Prague Free Castle Tour & Charles Bridge: A free walking tour that covers the history and legends of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle.
- Prague Boat Cruise with Charles Bridge: A one-hour boat cruise that offers panoramic views of Charles Bridge and other landmarks along the river.
- Prague Segway Tour with Charles Bridge: A fun and easy way to explore Charles Bridge and other attractions on a segway.
- Prague Night Tour with Charles Bridge: A romantic tour that shows you the illuminated bridge and city at night.
Some of the landmarks that you can see from or near Charles Bridge are:
- Old Town Bridge Tower: A Gothic tower that marks the entrance to the bridge from the Old Town side. It has a richly decorated facade and a gallery that offers a view of the bridge.
- Lesser Town Bridge Tower: A pair of towers that mark the entrance to the bridge from the Lesser Town side. They have different styles and heights, reflecting their different origins.
- John of Nepomuk Statue: A bronze statue of a saint who was thrown into the river from the bridge in 1393 by order of King Wenceslas IV. It is said that touching his relief brings good luck and ensures your return to Prague.
- Crucifix with Hebrew Inscription: A wooden crucifix with a gold inscription that reads \»Holy, Holy, Holy Lord\» in Hebrew. It was added in 1696 as a punishment for a Jewish man who was accused of blasphemy.
- St. Francis of Assisi Church: A baroque church that stands next to Charles Bridge on the Old Town side. It has a distinctive dome and a large organ that hosts concerts.
- Kampa Island: An island on the Vltava river that is connected to Charles Bridge by stairs. It has a park, a museum, and several cafes and restaurants.