Charles Bridge

Spanning the river between Old Town and Mala Strana
Prague, Czech Republic

Submitted by: Molly Bupp

Ancient stone bridge spanning 1700 feet across the Vlatava River which divides Prague's Old Town from the Lesser Town.

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Why It Works

By day it's packed with tourists and vendors selling cheaply made and overpriced souvenirs. But at dawn, dusk or during the night, the bridge is a wonderful place to see fantastic views of a beautiful city and to meet tourists and locals alike. The bridge itself has great historical significance and the statues of saints lining the bridge are beautiful. It is one of the most romantic spots in the world.

What Makes Charles Bridge a Great Place?

It is an easy walk from both Old Town and Mala Strana. On the Old Town side, a trolley line runs to the end of the bridge and there is a trolley line near the Mala Strana side as well.

Even with the tourists and vendors, it is beautiful. For a frequently travelled area, it's very clean.

People are on the bridge 24 hours a day. Shopping and folk music during the day, star gazing and more music at night.

Since it's not the fastest way to get across town, most people who travel the bridge are in a good mood and ready for a stroll. It's not uncommon to strike up conversations with both tourists and locals.

History & Background

In 14th century Prague, a number of events transpired that brought the Charles Bridge into existence. First, the Judith Bridge collapsed in 1342; this wooden bridge, on the site of the present day Charles Bridge, had been the only link between the two halves of the city. Charles IV, the king at the time, wanted a permanent link to connect the city that would also be a testament to his wealth and power. An impressive stone bridge would provide a needed royal processionary route as well as become a key element to the city’s defense. Thus, in 1357, Charles IV commissioned Peter Parler, the city’s premier builder, to construct the bridge. 45 years later, the bridge was finally completed; for the next 400 years, the Charles Bridge was the only link between the two halves of Prague. It was restricted to pedestrians only in 1974.

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