Charles Bridge, which is one of the symbols of Prague par excellence, connects the historic city districts of Stare Mesto and Mala Strana.
History and statues of the Charles Bridge
Work to build the Charles Bridge began under the reign of Charles IV in the second half of the 14th century and was completed in the first half of the following century during the sovereignty of Wenceslaus IV.
The passing of the centuries and the catastrophic floods of the Vltava river have severely tested the Charles bridge, two arches were rebuilt in the late 1800s.
This bridge, intended only for pedestrians, measures 516 meters in length and 10 in width, firmly resting on 16 pillars.
The two powerful towers on the two banks watch over the bridge, since in the past this complex was also part of the defensive works of Prague.
The monumental Gothic part of the Charles Bridge is refined and enlivened by what could be called a real outdoor sculpture gallery.
It was from 1657 that the placement of statues and sculptural groups on the sides of the bridge began.
Most of the statues present are now replaced by copies, to preserve the originals from degradation, since these are made of sandstone, a material particularly subject to weathering.
The original statues are found in the Lapidarium of the National Museum in Prague.
The statue of Santa Lutgarda is the most prestigious, a work that reproduces San Filippo Benizzi, the only one to have been carved out of marble, while the only bronze statue is that of San Giovanni Nepomuceno, located halfway across the bridge.
A relief placed between the sixth and seventh pillars indicates the exact point where the saint was violently dropped into the river.Recommended readings
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A Hebrew epigraph, near the sculptural group of Calvary, recalls the sacrilegious act of a Jewish blasphemer, while a cartouche, located under the nineteenth-century Statue of San Francesco Serafico, reports the transcription of a verse from Psalm 90.
In the vicinity of the bridge, Kampa Island, is the Colonna di Rolando, a copy made in 1800 from an original from the 16th century.
Charles Bridge represents one of the fulcrums around which the tourist life of Prague revolves, an endless flow of visitors crowd it at all hours of the day, together with craftsmen and street artists who offer the fruit of their work.
The towers of Mala Strana delimit the bridge in the direction of the district of the same name, the lower height tower, dating from the late 12th century, was part of the ancient Giuditta bridge.
The fifteenth century main tower was built at the behest of Jiri by Podebrady in the same spot where an ancient Romanesque tower was located.