Travel to Prague

Day 2 Karlov most (Charles Bridge)

From the Old Town Square we can continue by the Royal route, Karlova Street, finding ourselves with Clementine (Klementinum), the largest architectural complex after the Prague Castle. It is currently the National Library of the Czech Republic. The complex was started in 1232 with the church dedicated to San Clemente and the convent of the Dominicans. In 1555 the Jesuits bought the monastery and several lands to build a school, a new church, a monastery, administrative buildings, an observatory and study rooms. In the year 1722 was built the so-called astronomical tower which in 1775 were initiated measurements of weather and climate and where Kepler discovered the laws of planetary motion. One of the most valuable of the library (founded 1781) is the Baroque Room librarian. Another pearl of the area is the Chapel of mirrors in which concerts are held regularly.

Prague - Clementinum

Clementinum

At the end of the Karlova street we find the Square of the Knights of the Cross (Krizovnicke namesti). In the center of the square is a statue of 4 meters high of Charles IV, facing the door to Charles Bridge, next to the church of St. Francis and giving back the Church of Holy Savior belonging to Clementine.

Prague - Square of the Knights of the Cross - Statue of Charles IV

Square of the Knights of the Cross - Statue of Charles IV

At last we arrive to the Charles Bridge. To reach it we pass under the Old Town Bridge Tower (Staromestská Mostecká vez). It is considered a World jewel of Gothic architecture, was built in the late fourteenth century over the first pillar of the bridge. It has a richly decorated statues - coats-of-arms of the countries of the Czech crown in the reign of Charles IV, statues of St. Vitus, Charles IV, Wenceslas IV, St. Adalbert and St. Sigismund. You can go up to the tower and from 18 meters you can enjoy a privileged view over the Charles Bridge, Old Town and Prague Castle.

Prague - Old Town Bridge Tower (Staromestská mostecká vez)

Old Town Bridge Tower (Staromestská mostecká vez)

Charles Bridge (Karluv most) was the first bridge to cross the Vltava River uniting Malá Strana to the Old City. Is the oldest bridge in Prague. Its construction, started by the real architect Peter Parlerin in 1357 following the approval of King Charles IV and finished in the early fifteenth century. Initially it was called "Bridge of Prague" or "stone bridge" but it was not until 1870 when it acquired its current name. The bridge is about 516 meters long and 10 meters wide. It rests on 16 arches.

Prague - Charles Bridge (Karluv most)

Charles Bridge (Karluv most)

The bridge is decorated on both sides with 30 statues and baroque statuary, placed between the years 1683 and 1828 representing saints, historical and biblical characters. On the railing of the bridge ever which John of Nepomuk was thrown into the Vltava in the year 1393 was posted in the eighteenth century a small metal cross with five stars (including the statue of John the Baptist and all the statues of St. Norbert, Wenceslas and Sigismund). According to legend, if you make a wish it will come true if you put your hand on the cross so that each one of your fingers touch a star. Among the most remarkable sculptures, include the St. Luthgard, the Crucifix and Calvary and St. John of Nepomuk. It is also known the statue of the knight Bruncvík, although it is not found in any of the two major rows on either side of the bridge.

Prague - Charles Bridge (Karluv most)

Charles Bridge (Karluv most)

The original staircase descending from the bridge to Kampa Island was replaced by a new one in 1844. In 1866, the lights were installed in pseudo-Gothic style (gas initially, but later would be replaced by electric) in the balustrade of the bridge. In the 1870s the first regular public transport service began operating on the bridge, then a tram pulled by horses. In the early twentieth century, traffic across the Charles Bridge rose sharply. On May 15, 1905 horse-drawn tram was replaced by an electric motor that would operate until 1908, and by bus after that year. Between 1965 and 1978, were carried out major maintenance work on the bridge and banned all traffic except pedestrians. Since completion of these works can only access the bridge on foot.

Prague - Lesser Town Bridge Towers (Malostranske mostecke veze)

Lesser Town Bridge Towers (Malostranske mostecke veze)

At the other side of the bridge you can find the Lesser Town Bridge Towers (Malostranske mostecke veze) or Mala Strana door, on the left bank of the river Vltava. The smaller tower is Romanesque of the twelfth century, and is a remnant of the Judith Bridge (the bridge prior to Charles). The tallest tower in the late Gothic style was built 200 years later (in 1464) and is linked to the Bridge Tower Old Town. Inside is a tourist office and a permanent exhibition on the history of the bridge.

Prague - Lesser Town Bridge Towers (Malostranské mostecké veze)

Lesser Town Bridge Towers (Malostranské mostecké veze)

After crossing the door we enter to Mala Strana across the street Mostecká, full of craft shops and souvenirs.