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Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge

The 13th century Charles Bridge is usually thoroughly packed with tourists and Czechs alike especially during the spring and summer months. However, it still should be a priority on your list of sights to see. Early morning is the best time for a less crowded walk although a romantic evening walk beneath the impressive lit up views of Prague by night is nice too. Expect souvenir stands, artists as well as street musicians playing their hearts out for your as you stroll across.

King Charles IV's favourite architect and builder Peter Parler originally built the present-day bridge. The initial idea was to build a functional construction for knight tournaments and for many years the only decoration on the bridge was a simple Crucifix. Later, the urge of the Catholics for ornamentation resulted in 30 statues being built (1600 to 1800 AD).

Today most of the statues are copies as various floods and catastrophes over the centuries have damaged them. There are now 75 statues and perhaps the most interesting - also the oldest - is that of John Nepomuk (no. 8 from the right as you cross towards the Castle).

John Nepomuk was a priest in Prague under Wenceslas IV. Unfortunately for John Nepomuk Wenceslas was a suspicious man. The priest fatefully received the confessions of the beautiful queen. Wenceslas however was convinced she had told the priest about some alleged love affair whereupon he demanded rather unsympathetically to know what the Queen had revealed. The priest being of pious blood did not break his commitment of confidentiality to the beauty in question and consequently was hauled over the bridge to drown in the Vltava. However, all was not lost for shortly afterwards a golden halo appeared over the spot in the Vltava where he had disappeared as evidence of his martyrdom. Hence today the ring of golden stars over his head on the statue. Some metres before the actual statue there is a small crucifix marking the spot of the deceased. Touch the crucifix and your wish will come true!

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