Charles Bridge (Karlův most)
By Dana Shanberg

Charles Bridge and Prague CastleCharles Bridge is a stone Gothic bridge that connects the Old Town and Lesser Town (Malá Strana). It was actually called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) during its first several centuries. Its construction was commissioned by Czech king and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and began in 1357. In charge of the construction was architect Petr Parléř whose other works include the  St.  Vitus Cathedral  at  the Prague Castle. It is said that egg yolks were mixed into the mortar to strengthen the construction of the bridge.


The Predecessor: Judith Bridge
Charles Bridge is one of the many monuments that were built during Charles' reign but it is not the first bridge that ever connected the Prague banks of the Vltava. Another bridge used to stand in its place - the Judith Bridge, which was the first stone bridge over the river. It was built in 1172 and collapsed in a flood in 1342.
View of Charles Bridge
Unlike its predecessor, Charles Bridge has survived many floods, most recently in August 2002 when the country experienced the worst flood in the past 500 years - so the egg yolks must not have been such a bad idea.


Charles Bridge Towers
There is a tower standing on each end of the bridge. Both the Staroměstská věž on the Old Town end and the Malostranská věž on the Malá Strana end can be climbed for a view of Prague and the bridge from above.

Baroque Statues
A total of Baroque statues began to be placed along either side of Charles Bridge in the 17th century. Now many of them are copies and the originals can be seen in the Lapidarium (see Prague Museums). The most popular statue is probably the one of St. John of Nepomuk, a Czech martyr saint who was executed during the reign of Wenceslas IV by  being  thrown  into  the Vltava  from  the  bridge.  The  plaque on the statue has been polished to a shine by countless people having touched it over the centuries. Touching the statue is supposed to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague.
Charles Bridge is popular with local artists
Charles Bridge is on the top of every Prague visitor's must-see list. It is also popular with Czech artists, musicians and souvenir vendors whose stands line both sides of the bridge year-round. A great time of day to come to the bridge is at sunset when one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the fully lit Prague Castle against the evening sky.

The bridge is now a pedestrian zone (although both tram and car traffic were allowed there in the past) and is almost constantly filled with people. If you want to have it all to yourself, go there at night or very early in the morning.






 Top Rated Hotels near Charles Bridge:
Aria Hotel Aria Hotel 5 stars
Tržiště 9, Prague 1 - Lesser Town
One of the world's top luxury hotels, the Aria is excellently run, centrally located yet tucked away, and its music theme gives it a unique atmosphere. The rooms overlooking the Vrtba Garden feel quiet and intimate. Make sure you visit the rooftop restaurant for an incredible view of the Prague Castle and Lesser Town.
Rocco Forte Augustine Hotel Rocco Forte Augustine Hotel 5 stars
Letenská 12/33, Prague 1 - Lesser Town
Luxury accommodation in seven historic buildings including a 13th century Augustinian monastery. All rooms are inspired by Czech Cubism and provide beautiful views of the city, the monastery and the Prague Castle. With a spa, an award-winning restaurant and the hotel’s own St. Thomas Beer.
Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa 5 stars
Tržiště 19, Prague 1 - Lesser Town
Prague's renowned Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa is housed in a UNESCO-protected Baroque landmark building, the "House at the Infant Jesus", dating back to the 16th century. Enjoy a unique spa and health club in the 11th century cellars and complimentary wine and cheese tasting offered daily.
Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace Prague 5 stars
Karolíny Světlé 34, Prague 1 - Old Town
The Mamaison Suite Hotel Pachtuv Palace enjoys an excellent location within minutes from Charles Bridge and a short walk from Old Town Square through the picturesque streets of Old Town. Some rooms offer beautiful views of the river (ask ahead) and all suites feature fully equipped kitchens.
Hotel Pod Věží Hotel Pod Věží 4 stars
Mostecká 2, Prague 1 – Lesser Town
The Hotel Pod Věží is at a wonderful location in Lesser Town, right at one of the Charles Bridge towers. The rooms have air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Czech and international cuisine can be enjoyed in the charming restaurant Pod Věží or on its summer terrace. You can park your car on site.
Charles Bridge Residence Charles Bridge Residence 3 stars
Mostecká 12/49, Prague 1 – Lesser Town
The Charles Bridge Residence is located just a few steps from Charles Bridge. All rooms have unique features such as stained glass windows, original parquet floors and beamed ceilings. Free Wi-Fi is available and secure underground parking and shuttle services to the airport and train station are offered for an extra charge.