Discovering the History and Legends of Charles Bridge
Prague, Czech Republic is a city with a rich history that dates back to medieval times. The city is known for its stunning architecture, cobbled streets, and gothic cathedrals. One of the most iconic landmarks in Prague is the Charles Bridge. This historic structure spans the Vltava River and connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town. Walking along the Charles Bridge is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Prague. In this article, we will discover the history and legends of Charles Bridge and explore the top tourist attractions found in this region.
History of Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge was built during the reign of Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor in 1357. This bridge was built to replace the old Judith Bridge that was destroyed during the floods in 1342. The construction of this new bridge was an ambitious undertaking and took more than 50 years to complete. The bridge is made of sandstone blocks and features a Gothic architecture style that is typical of the 14th century.
During its construction, Charles Bridge served not just as a bridge, but also as a symbol of power and wealth of the Czech Kingdom. The bridge was used for religious processions and royal parades, and it was adorned with religious statues that were believed to protect the bridge and the citizens of Prague.
Charles Bridge Legends
The Charles Bridge is not only a symbol of Prague’s rich history and architecture, but it is also the site of numerous legends and myths that have been passed down through generations.
One of the most famous legends is the story of the statue of St. John of Nepomuk. It is said that this saint was a confessor to the queen and refused to reveal the queen’s secrets to the king. As punishment, he was thrown into the Vltava River from the Charles Bridge. His body was later found, and his remains were collected by the citizens of Prague. The statue of St. John of Nepomuk was erected on the Charles Bridge where he was thrown into the river. It is believed that touching the statue brings good luck and that rubbing the plaque beneath brings prosperity.
Another popular legend is that of the Golem of Prague. The legend tells of a rabbi who created a giant monster out of clay to defend the city’s Jewish community. The monster was brought to life by the rabbi’s magical powers, and he was tasked with protecting the Jewish Quarter. However, the rabbi lost control of the golem, and it ran amok, causing destruction and chaos throughout the city. It is said that the golem can still be found in the attic of the Old-New Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter.
Tourist Attractions in Charles Bridge
1. Old Town Square – Located on the east side of the Charles Bridge is the Old Town Square. This is the perfect place to get a taste of the city’s history and culture. Here, visitors can see the famous Astronomical Clock and marvel at the beautiful Gothic architecture.
2. Prague Castle – On the west side of the Charles Bridge is the Prague Castle, which is one of the largest castles in the world. The castle comprises of several palaces, churches and gardens, and it is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Prague.
3. Jewish Quarter – The Jewish Quarter is located close to the Charles Bridge and is home to some of the city’s oldest Jewish synagogues and cemeteries. Visitors can explore the history of the Jewish community in Prague and learn about the architecture, culture, and traditions of this fascinating community.
4. Petrin Hill – Petrin Hill is a large park located on the west side of the Vltava River. It offers beautiful views of the city skyline and the Charles Bridge. Visitors can climb to the top of the hill and enjoy the stunning panoramic views of Prague.
5. National Theatre – The National Theatre is located on the west side of the Charles Bridge and is a must-see attraction for lovers of the performing arts. This beautiful theatre is the home to the Czech National Ballet, Opera, and Drama.
Q: What is the best time to visit Charles Bridge?
A: The best time to visit Charles Bridge is during the early morning or late evening when the crowds are smaller.
Q: Can you cross the Charles Bridge by car?
A: No, the Charles Bridge is a pedestrian-only bridge.
Q: Are there any restrictions when taking photos on the Charles Bridge?
A: No, visitors are allowed to take photos on the Charles Bridge. However, it is recommended to be respectful of other visitors and not obstruct the walkway.
Q: Is the Charles Bridge accessible to people with disabilities?
A: Yes, the Charles Bridge is accessible to people with disabilities. There are ramps and elevators available for those who need assistance.
Q: Are there any guided tours available for the Charles Bridge?
A: Yes, there are many guided tours available for the Charles Bridge. These tours offer visitors a chance to learn about the history and legends of the bridge and the surrounding area.
In conclusion, discovering the history and legends of Charles Bridge is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Prague. The bridge is not only a symbol of the city’s rich history and culture, but it is also a place of wonder and fascination, where myths and legends come to life. If you are planning a visit to Prague, be sure to stop by the Charles Bridge and experience the magic for yourself.