The Charles Bridge (Karluv Most)

Old Town
Prague 1
Charles Bridge

Built in 1357 on the site of the Judita Most (Judith Bridge), an earlier construction that was washed away in one of the city's frequent floods, the Charles Bridge is the most familiar and enduring symbol of Prague and was the only bridge across the Vltava until the nineteenth century. Inspired by the Pont Neuf in Paris, Emperor Charles IV commissioned a bridge designed to withstand the elements, consulting astrologers as to when to begin construction and mixing eggs with the mortar for added strength.

Guarded by impressive Gothic towers on each bank, the original unadorned bridge began to be decorated by counter-reformation sculptures in the late seventeenth century. Due to erosion, most of the 30 statues have been replaced by more modern copies; the originals are on display in the Lapidarium in Letná Park. The effect of the statues, silhouetted against the castle looking west or the Old Town to the east, is magical particularly at night when the castle is floodlit.

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