The capital city of the Czech Republic is home to many magnificent attractions. But Charles Bridge is unquestionably one of the TOP 5 most incredible. In addition to being one of the most well-known bridges in the world, this medieval structure is also inextricably linked to Prague’s most opulent period, and it may well be the most stunning bridge in all of Europe. And we are not at all exaggerating…
The pillar-supported Charles Bridge is 516 meters long, 9.5 meters wide, and 13 meters high. Additionally, it is a section of the so-called Royal Route.
History and Legends of Charles Bridge
The Charles Bridge is the second-oldest bridge in the Czech Republic and the oldest bridge in Prague that is still in use today. Following the destruction of the former bridge (Judith Bridge) by floods in 1342, Charles IV ordered its construction in 1357. The bridge took over 50 years to build (it was finished in 1402) and was overseen by the renowned German-Czech architect Peter Parler (“Petr Parlé” in Czech). Only since 1870 has the bridge been referred to as “Charles Bridge,” having previously been termed “Stone” or “Prague.” Additionally, it was Prague’s only bridge over the Vltava river until 1841.
Numerous rehabilitation processes have been carried out on Charles Bridge. And just lately, in February 2016, a scandal occurred.Some international visitors vandalized the bridge by spray-painting signs on it, which is a heartbreaking and hardly comprehendable behavior. The vandals might possibly receive a term of up to three years in prison if they are found. Naturally, the damage will be repaired, but this incident may serve as a poignant reminder of how even the most priceless historical sites, which have endured for centuries, are frequently threatened by irresponsible people today who are incapable of respecting what hundreds of thousands of people visit to admire each year.
Charles Bridge Legends
The construction of Charles Bridge, which is made of sandstone blocks, is shrouded in a variety of intriguing legends. One of them claims that the builders chose to fortify the bridge by mixing raw eggs into a mortar. Historians have still not reached a consensus on whether it is factual or not. The story that there weren’t enough eggs in Prague, so they were brought from all over the country, and the people in one of the regions were afraid the eggs would break during the transport, so they sent them boiled – much to the amusement of everyone in Prague – is probably a myth.
In addition to the legends already stated, let’s discuss two other intriguing “urban myths” related to Charles Bridge. Particularly those who enjoy horror stories will find both of those appealing. As we just mentioned, the first one has a connection to John of Nepomuk. A Czech folktale claims that one of the bridge’s arches fell shortly after his tortured body was hurled from Charles Bridge. And each attempt to repair the bridge ended inexplicably. One of the builders made a deal with the Devil after deciding that it was God’s punishment for Nepomuk’s fate. The builder offered the Devil the soul of the first person to cross the bridge in exchange for making it repairable once more.