Monday

Focus On Prague - Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge which crosses the Vltava River in Prague, connects the Old Town to Mala Strana (the Lesser Town) and Prague Castle, and is undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions of the city. It is a magnificent 10 metre wide stone bridge, from which you can see a magical and magnificent skyline including the Mighty Prague Castle in all its eminence, when walking in from the Old Town side. It is the perfect setting for a romantic walk, but for that you need to catch the bridge either early morning or late evening as during the day can get very busy, bustling with traders, tourists and musicians. The sunrise and sunset is absolutely incredible, shimmering off the smoothly worn stone surface of the bridge, making it a resplendent glow. Legend has it that the bridge is magical, and if you were to throw a coin off the edge and make a wish, it would come true.


The history of Charles Bridge

 Until 1841 Charles Bridge was the only way to cross the River Vltava, which made Prague an important place for trade being the only solid land crossing from Western to Eastern Europe. The bridge is steeped in history and has had its fair share of disasters. Following the Battle of the White Mountain, 27 leaders of the Anti-Hasburg revolt were executed in 1621. There severed heads were displayed on the Old Town Tower as a deterrent to Czechs potentially offering further resistance. In 1648 at the tail end of the ‘Thirty Year Wars’, the Swedes occupied the West Bank of the Vltava. The heaviest of the fighting took place actually on the bridge, one side of the Old Town Tower was quite badly damaged, and all the gothic décor had to be removed.

Feel like Dracula’s bride and groom, whilst wondering around this Gothic city!

The Old Town Tower is at the end of the bridge furthest from the castle, and there is another 2 towers at the other end. The Old Town Tower is said to be one of the great masterpieces of gothic architecture, and it certainly is a sight to behold with beautiful ornate parapets and incredible sharp detail unmistakably indicative of the gothic era. The views from up any of the three towers are just awe inspiring, allowing you to look down on the 500 metre stretch of the great bridge sprawling its way majestically over the Vltava. The bridge is lined with 30 statues all of a baroque style, they are all replicas now but they still look very much the same as they would have. The original idea for the bridge was to make a functional construction to knight’s tournaments and the only décor until the 1600’s was a simple crucifix.

Prague is just a magical place almost eerie with all of its unmistakably gothic architecture, but it is a very friendly place very open and receptive to visitors. You will find people will be more than happy to help you and point you in the right direction. The Charles Bridge is, and has been for hundreds of years, and integral part of Prague.

Guest contributor to Resort Guide, Sarah, is a lover of Capital cities and vows to visit everyone in the planet before she dies!

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