The Charles Bridge carries a history involving flood after flood, battles, beheadings, and statues of saints. It is the oldest bridge across the Vltava River in Prague and was once the only connection between the Old Town on one side of the river with the Castle on the other side. This gave the bridge great significance for centuries. Today it is a prime place to visit in Prague, both for the bridge itself and the magnificent views of the city.
The first bridge across the river at this spot was one made of logs. This was replaced by a stone bridge. Flooded out, that bridge was damaged in 1342. Construction of the present bridge began in 1357, with the foundation stone being laid by Emperor Charles IV on July 9 at 5:31 a.m. This precise timing lent “magic” to the bridge, as the date and time contained a pattern of 9, 7, 5, 3, and 1. A believer in numerology, Charles IV chose this timing to lend additional strength to his reign. Building was completed in 1402.
The bridge has suffered from many floods and the strain of battles in the area. The constant traffic of horse-drawn carts, then electric trams, then buses and cars, wore down the bridge. After restoration in 1978, all vehicle traffic is banned from bridge. So you can stroll across this pedestrian bridge without dodging traffic. You can pause to look at the historic buildings on the Old Town side, and you can look up the hill the other direction to the castle with the spires of the St. Vitus cathedral soaring into the sky.
A recognizable feature of the Charles Bridge is the Old Town Bridge Tower, built at the same time as the bridge. It’s designed as a victory arch through which the Czech kings pass during coronation ceremonies. You can tour the tower and climb the stairs to the top for a spectacular view.
The tower has served as a prison and stories about it abound. For example, in 1621, a rebellion arose against the nobility. Twelve of the leaders of the rebellion were caught and killed and their decapitated heads were put on display in the tower as a warning to behave. The heads remained in the tower for ten years. They were stolen one night and finally buried, and no one knows where they are to this day.
The Charles Bridge is notable for its 30 statues of saints, added from 1683 to 1928. Due to floods and battles, some of the first statues are gone. What we see today are replicas, with the originals housed in a museum nearby.
We timed our visit to the Charles Bridge for sunset, which is the perfect time to go. The festive, lively atmosphere included street musicians and people of all ages enjoying this ancient place.
On our walk back to the hotel, we stopped to enjoy the traditional Czech dessert pastry with the funny name. A trdelnik is a rolled pastry sprinkled with sugar and chopped nuts. We chose the chocolate filling flavor. Yum!
A visit to the Charles Bridge is a priority for your trip to Prague, and if you can time it for sunrise or sunset, the views will be at their most spectacular.
Loved that city though I thought the food was very expensive!
Wow! Your photos are just magical. What gorgeous buildings and lovely scenery.
Sharon, it’s blogs like yours that open me up to the world. The only way for me to learn about Charles Bridge is to stumble upon an article of it, but it has to be an article that brings the bridge alive. I marvel that long ago this was a bridge is what separated the people from the king, and this is not a fairy tale. All the history of hundreds and thousands of people who traveled on the bridge. Shiver.
The View from the Top of the Ladder
Lovely photos of Prague. I just visited Budapest and loved it!
I cannot get over the gorgeous architecture!
…Sharon, what beautiful scenes, I’d love a trdelnik right about now!
Lovely historic architecture. Our town was founded a little over 100 years ago so we don’t have buildings like that. However, our region has been inhabited by First Nations people for thousands of years. – Margy
What a gorgeous city! I’d love to go there
Another fabulous trip with you. I’m so happy they are protecting the old bridge. It is priceless to my mind.
What beautiful sights – so regal!
Thanks so much for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/04/titanic-movie-costumes-on-display-at.html
The bridge is gorgeous, but as with many old ones, they need a replacement because of the wear and tear of the ages:) Love the angles you took from the statures. Sigh, they were in the previous ages very demonstrative about who the imprisoned. Your photo with the tourists underneath the tower made me feel old – It seems like everyone is under 30! Wondered why they stole the heads (maybe to give them a burial?) Lovely share of the bridge in Prague for All Seasons, Sharon! And the rest as well:) Have a great week!
These European cities, they have big WOW factors. Bucket list for sure.
Worth a Thousand Words
I once read that Madonna once had a private party on the bridge! Now wouldn’t that be awesome!?#CityTripping
Truly Awesome pics.
Wow, Sharon, I never imagined Prague would be so beautiful. Thank you for your word-guided tour through the city and its history, but I have a confession to make: everything else flew out of my mind at the thought of the ‘trdelnik’ — that pastry whose name defies pronunciation but looks irresistible.
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel
Incredible photos, Sharon. I love Prague and we came here back in 2009. Charles Bridge is my favorite and I love to see all those statues and the artistic design of it. Cheers from NYC.
Beautiful shots of the Charles Bridge. I’d love to go back to Prague and visit again.
One of my favourite spots in Prague with those amazing views and all the statues – love reading some more of the history, the numerology was totally new to me. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping and sharing
The Charles Bridge and the views from it are great. I did not have a lot of room to enjoy it since it was very crowded the times I passed by. In retrospective, I am not sure why I didn’t ascend the tower. I kept asking myself how people got photos featuring the entire bridge. Then, I realized it was from the tower. Loved trdelnik! I think they are selling them somewhere in Southern California.
Beautiful photos! What a gorgeous city. Those pastries look delicious too. I really want to visit Prague one day.
Never been to Prague! Looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing the photos!
Charles Bridge was one of our favorite places in Prague, too… we crossed it many times. Although we visited in January which was soooo cold, I’d love to go back in a bit milder weather! Your photos are beautiful btw, what camera are you using?
Hi, Sarah! I got a mirrorless camera about a year ago — a Sony a6300 – and I love how lightweight it is. The lenses are as good as I have on my heavy Nikon DSLR. The photo quality seems to me to be as good as the Nikon. And no more sore shoulders from lugging the DSLR. I can’t part with that one, though — I love them both!
I did so love Prague. I woke up really early one morning (5am) to go and visit the bridge at sunrise so that I could get some decent shots without the huge crowds that were always around during the day. It was an amazing experience. Beautiful pictures you have here! #Wanderful Wednesday
Loved the view we had from the bridge! Great to learn more about it 🙂 #WanderfulWednesday
Such a wonderful post. I am so looking forward to visiting Prague and would definitely try the dessert. Beautiful photos.
The Charles Bridge is definitely one of my top 3 happiest places in the world! I get such a rush of energy everytime I stand on it. Glad you enjoyed & gorgeous clear photos!
Beautiful photos! I love Prague and I enjoyed Charles Bridge, we walked across it with my family every day while we were there. It has a lot of history. The trdelnik actually originated in Transylvania, called kurtos kalacs there, but it is very popular in Prague. My kids loved the chocolate filled one since the original we were used to doesn’t have it. I make it for special occasions. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard. I enjoyed your photos!
Sharon, you’ll make me buy a plane ticket to go back to Prague. I so loved this city and it’s been so long since I’ve been there, that I should probably do it. Charles Bridge was my favorite spot in Prague. I even bought a few paintings with this bridge. #TheWeeklyPostcard
The views from Charles Bridge are the best! It is my favorite place in Prague.
I loved everything about Prague and Charles Bridge was central to this beautiful city’s charm. You’ve just brought back fantastic memories. 🙂
It’s such a beautiful bridge, isn’t it? We visited Prague in the winter which was wonderfully atmospheric but you’ve made me long to see it in the summer and spend some time lingering there in the sunset. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
I’ve been to Prague years ago, back then I bought a small painting of the Charles Bridge at night from one of the local painters! Your post look me back to this wonderful city! Really enjoyed reading, pinned #feetdotravel
The architecture is truly stunning in Prague. I would love to visit the bridge and see the saints. The statues eyes always look particularly creepy. Those trdelnik’s look like THE BEST! I will add this to the list for Prague one day 🙂
Beautiful buildings Sharon. When were you there?
Good choice, I would have picked the chocolate pastries too. Additionally, you did a great job capturing the statue details and the colors and architecture in Prague.#TheWeeklyPostcard
Your photos of Prague are absolutely amazing! Those pastries look so delicious as well. Makes me wanna visit even more now. Thank you for sharing #theweeklypostcard
Thanks for all of the great historical information! I went to Prague last year and experienced the magic of the city and the Charles Bridge, made even more spectacular by snow! I was dancing around like a kid when the snowflakes started to fall, just as we were crossing the bridge. I didn’t know about the bridge’s rich history, though! Can’t wait to return. #FarawayFiles
I always look forward to your posts, Sharon. Loved hearing about the history of the bridge and all the drama it’s been through. Your photos are fabulous – so much detail, I really need to get myself to Prague! Saving this for when I do. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles
A fascinating history! Love your beautiful photos. I will pin this with the hope of visiting one day.
The Old Town Bridge Tower is a most beautiful remnant of the past which reminds me of London Tower. But it had a more friendly purpose for the Czech Kings. Better not having breakfast before climbing the stairs 😉
I was in Prague a few years back for the Xmas Market so had a chance to visit Charles Bridge – it’s definitely a must see! Sadly I didn’t go for sunset, I should know better! Thanks for the tip, pinned #feetdotravel
Wow, Sharon! Your photos are sensational! What camera do you use? I loved finding out more about the famous bridge! I was there a few years back, but hadn’t really looked into its history. And this really made me want a trdelnik! Yummy witch chocolate filling as you mentioned!