Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the magnificent Charles Bridge in Prague! In this article, we'll take you on a journey across the Charles Bridge Prague, sharing captivating details and insider insights to help you experience its romantic charm.

So, let's embark on this adventure together!

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Introduction: Unveiling the Beauty of Charles Bridge Prague

Stretching gracefully over the Vltava River, Charles Bridge stands as an iconic symbol of Prague's rich history and architectural grandeur. Built in the 14th century, this enchanting bridge connects the Old Town with the Lesser Town, captivating visitors with its Gothic charm and romantic ambiance.

The Histroy of Charles Bridge Prague

The Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, holds a rich and fascinating history. Construction of the bridge began in 1357 under the patronage of King Charles IV, after whom it was named. It was designed to replace the previous Judith Bridge, which had been severely damaged by a flood in 1342.

Twilight on the Bridge
Twilight on the Bridge

Charles Bridge Prague Predecessors

To begin with, there once existed a crossing made of bound logs, commonly known as steps, instead of a bridge. In the 10th century, there are historical records mentioning a wooden bridge, which, however, faced the constant threat of floods. To address this issue, Vladislav II took the initiative to construct a stone bridge around 1170, which he named Judith's Bridge. This remarkable structure stood strong until 1342 when it succumbed to the destructive force of a flood.

The bridge not only bore the name of Vladislav's educated and energetic wife, Judith of Thuringia, but it is also believed that she played a significant role in its actual construction. A well-preserved Romanesque relief of the original bridge can be found within the smaller Malostranska bridge tower. This relief depicts a seated figure, likely the ruler, handing a document to a kneeling individual. Different interpretations exist regarding the identities of these figures and the occasion portrayed.



The Old Town bridge tower, originating from the 13th century, is constructed with an emphasized corner buttress of the Křížovnický Monastery. Beneath the monastery's frontal facade, an outer Old Town vault has been preserved and transformed into a gallery. Additional remnants of the vaults can be found in the cellars of various houses along U Lužického semináře Street.

Among the notable relics associated with Judith's Bridge is the Bearded Man (Bradáč) head, currently situated within the Old Town riverside wall. Originally, it was part of the bridge, likely located on the first Old Town vault, serving as a water marker. To observe the appearance of the original Romanesque bridge paving, one can visit the St. Vaclav's wine pillar situated at the corner of St. František Church.

The Magical Numbers At the Foundation

Prague Bridge, also known as Charles Bridge or Stone Bridge, holds the distinction of being the oldest well-preserved bridge in Prague. The name "Charles Bridge" gained popularity in the year 1870, based on a suggestion made earlier by K. H. Borovský.

On the 9th of July 1357, at the precise time of 5:31 a.m., Charles IV laid the foundation stone for this remarkable bridge. It is important to note that the selection of this specific date and time was not arbitrary. When we arrange the numbers in the following sequence: 1 3 5 7 (year), 9 (day), 7 (month), 5 3 1 (time), an ascending and descending scale emerges, with the number 9 positioned at the highest point:

The Magical Numbers of the Charles Bridge Prague
The Magical Numbers of the Charles Bridge Prague

The Charles Bridge Prague holds numerous enchanting connections, each with its own touch of magic.

Petr Parléř was entrusted with the management of its construction, although the bridge was only completed after his passing at the dawn of the 15th century. Crafted from sandstone blocks, it spans a length of 515.76 meters and measures 9.5 meters in width, solidifying its status as one of the most formidable bridge structures of its era. Resting upon 16 vaults of varying spans, ranging from 16.62 to 23.38 meters, it stands as a testament to remarkable engineering prowess. However, it has endured the ravages of floods on multiple occasions, including the years 1432, when five pillars were destroyed, 1784, and notably in 1890. During the latter incident, the wooden debris carried by the Vltava River's upper stream wreaked havoc, resulting in the destruction of two pillars and three vaults.

In the year 1723, the bridge underwent a transformation with the introduction of oil lanterns, illuminating its path. The old stairs from 1785 were replaced in 1844 with a new staircase leading to Kampa. Furthermore, in 1833, the worn-out sidewalks flanking the bridge were upgraded and replaced with sturdy iron ranges, equipped with anti-slip notches.

Charles Bridge Prague from Malá Strana
Charles Bridge Prague from Malá Strana

The Architectural Marvel and the Sculptures of Charles Bridge Prague

With its 16 elegant arches and imposing stone statues lining its sides, Charles Bridge exudes a timeless elegance that transports you to another era. The bridge's construction involved the collaboration of talented architects, including the renowned Peter Parler, who left an indelible mark on Prague's architectural landscape.

One of the most captivating features of Charles Bridge Prague is its collection of statues, each with its own unique story to tell. Marvel at the beautifully sculpted figures as you wander along the bridge. From the majestic statue of St. Vitus to the serene Madonna and Child, each statue showcases the artistry and craftsmanship of a bygone era.

The Sculptures of the Bridge

On the balustrade, one can find a remarkable collection of 30 sculptures and sculptural groups, predominantly crafted between 1706 and 1714. This historical site traces its origins back to the 14th century when the first cross was erected here. Although the original statue of Bruncvík, created before 1503, now only exists as a preserved pedestal displayed in the National Museum's Lapidary, a faithful replica sculpted by Ludvík Šimek graces the spot. Šimek, the talented artist behind the replica, also crafted the impressive knight's figure.

Among the sculptures, the enduring statue of St. John of Nepomuk stands as the oldest in its original form, dating back to 1683. The most recent addition to this captivating assembly was the sculptural group of St. Cyril and Methodius, installed in 1928.

Over the years, some of the sculptures and sculptural groups fell victim to floods, weather damage, or other unfortunate circumstances. However, copies meticulously fashioned by contemporary artists were created to replace the lost or damaged pieces. Meanwhile, the original works found their new abodes, such as the National Museum's Lapidary or Gorlice at Vyšehrad. Most of the sculptures were skillfully carved from sandstone, while St. Philip Benitius proudly stands in marble, and both St. Cross (Calvary) and John of Nepomuk are gracefully cast in bronze.

Heading from the Old Town Bridge Tower towards Lesser Town on the left, you will encounter a series of remarkable sculptures on Charles Bridge Prague:

  1. St. Ivo: Created by Matyáš Bernard Braun in 1711, this sculpture was commissioned by the Faculty of Law. It depicts St. Ivo, the patron saint of lawyers, who defended widows and children in court. A copy of the sculpture, made in 1908 by Frantisek Hergesel Jr., can be seen on the bridge, while the original is stored in the National Museum's Lapidary. Standing beside St. Ivo is Justice, symbolized by a sword-wielding figure blindfolded.
  2. St. Barbara, Margaret, and Elisabeth: Crafted by Jan Brokoff and his son Ferdinand Maxmilián in 1707, this sculptural group features St. Barbara in the center, with Margaret on the right and Elisabeth on the left. The statues were funded by Jan Václav Obytecký of Obytec, a member of the imperial council, with each figure representing a "holy virgin." Copies of these sculptures are placed on the bridge.
  3. Pieta (Bewailing of Christ): Emanuel Max created this classic depiction in 1859. The sculpture portrays Jesus resting on his mother's lap, with Mary Magdalene on his right and St. John in the middle. The Prague community commissioned this sculptural group, using funds collected from a public gathering. Previously, a Pieta by Jan Brokoff was located here from 1965, but it was damaged in 1848 and later moved to the yard of the Pod Petřínem Hospital.
  4. St. Joseph with Baby Jesus: Originally sculpted by Jan Brokoff in 1706 but damaged by gunfire, this statue was replaced by Josef Max's work in 1854. The sculpture represents St. Joseph with the infant Jesus. The damaged original, along with the neighboring Pieta, can be found in the National Museum's Lapidary.
  5. St. Francis Xavier: Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff created this sculpture in 1711. Notably, the artist depicted himself as a young man standing under the saint's hand with a cross. The lower part of the sculpture features figures from the exotic countries where St. Francis worked as a missionary. These include a Chinese, a Tatar, a blackamoor, and an Indian carrying a desk with a standing St. Francis. In front of him, a pagan prince kneels, ready to be baptized. A copy of the sculpture, made by Čeněk Vosmík, was placed on the bridge in 1913, while the original is stored in the National Museum's Lapidary.
  6. St. Christopher: Created by Emanuel Max in 1857, this sculpture depicts St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers and seafarers. St. Christopher is shown carrying pilgrims on his shoulders across a wild stream, including a child who represents Christ. The original statue was situated at a watch-house until it collapsed during the 1784 flood. A copy now stands in its place on the bridge.
  7. St. Francis Borgia: Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff sculpted this piece in 1710. The central figure represents St. Francis Borgia, the third general of the Jesuit order, with two asymmetrically placed angels on the sides. The lower part of the pedestal displays the saint's attributes, including a helmet from his time as a soldier and a crown from his vice-royalty of Valencia. The upper part bears the emblem of burgrave Franz of Collet.
  8. St. Ludmila and Little Vaclav: Created by the skilled sculptor Matyáš Bernard Braun after 1720, this exquisite artwork stands in the same location where a statue of St. Václav once stood. The original statue, crafted by Ottavio Mosto between 1695 and 1701, unfortunately collapsed into the Vltava river during the devastating flood of 1784. However, Braun's sculpture now graces the spot where the castle's ramp once stood. In the sculpture, St. Ludmila delicately holds a veil in her left hand, symbolizing her tragic demise by strangulation. Her right hand points towards a Bible, signifying Little Václav's pursuit of knowledge as he learns to read. The pedestal's relief depicts the sorrowful scene of Václav's death. A fragment of Mosto's original sculpture is currently housed in the National Museum's Lapidary, with some parts having been salvaged from the depths of the Vltava river, the latest recovery occurring in 2004. While the original statue of St. Ludmila was moved to Gorlice at Vyšehrad, a faithful replica was created in 1999 by J. Kačer and M. Kačerová.
  9. St. Francis of Seraphim: Crafted by the talented sculptor Emanuel Max in 1855, this sculpture replaces the original Baroque statue of the saint, created by František Preiss, which now stands proudly in front of the Capuchin Church of St. Joseph at Náměstí republiky Square. The present-day sculptural group was commissioned by Count František Kolowrat-Leibstein to commemorate Emperor Franz Joseph I, who was saved from an assassination attempt in 1853. St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscan begging order and a pioneer in the creation of Christmas cribs since 1233, is depicted in his customary friar attire, flanked by two angelic Seraphins.
  10. St. Vincent of Ferrer and St. Prokop: Crafted by Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff in 1712, this captivating sculpture portrays two prominent saints. The Dominican friar Vincent, hailing from the affluent Ferrer family of Valencia, is depicted bringing a deceased person back to life while simultaneously exorcising a possessed individual with his outstretched arm. Prokop, the Czech patron saint, founder, and abbot of the Sázava Monastery, is shown warding off a devil with his trusty crutch. Adorning the pedestal are three caryatids: a bust of a Saracen and a Jew who converted to Christianity under St. Vincent's influence, and a sorrowful demon, shackled and weeping, vanquished by St. Prokop. The reliefs adorning the sculpture depict the Last Judgment and St. Prokop's legendary battle against the devil while plowing the fields. According to Vatican records, these esteemed saints redeemed a staggering 100,000 sinners, converted multitudes of Saracens and Jews to Christianity, and conquered numerous malevolent forces.
  11. Bruncvík: situated beyond the row of statues on a pedestal in the water, lies a sculpture that stands separate from the group depicting St. Vincent of Ferrer and St. Prokop. This particular statue portrays a knight holding a gleaming golden sword in his right hand. Adorned with a coat of arms on his side and accompanied by a lion at his feet, it is a remarkable piece of art. The inspiration for this statue came from a fragment of the original 15th-century sculpture of Knight Roland, blended with the unique vision of the sculptor Ludvík Šimek in 1884. Originally symbolizing municipal authorities, the statue suffered significant damage during the conclusion of the Thirty Years' War with the Swedes on Charles Bridge Prague. However, its genuine torso and the preserved original pedestal now reside in the Lapidary of the National Museum at the Exhibition Grounds. According to the ancient Bohemian legend of Bruncvík, he embarked on a journey to foreign lands with the aim of earning the right to incorporate a lion into his coat of arms, replacing the existing black eagle. During his travels, he encountered a lion and bravely rescued it from a fearsome nine-headed dragon. From that day forward, the lion faithfully accompanied him. Bruncvík possessed a magical sword, which, as the legend goes, would behead his enemies at his mere command. Upon his return home, Bruncvík buried the sword on Charles Bridge Prague. Legend holds that St. Václav will retrieve the sword when his horse strikes the ground with its hoof, as it rushes to aid the Bohemian land. The sword is said to bring destruction to the enemies, ensuring everlasting peace for Bohemia. During the restoration of Charles Bridge Prague following the 1890 flood, an actual large, corroded sword was reportedly discovered within the bridge structure.
  12. St. Nicholas of Tolentino (Mikuláš Tolentinský): crafted by Jeroným Kohl (some sources attribute the authorship to his son Jan Bedřich) in 1708 - was a saint who lived during the transition from the 13th to the 14th century. He gained renown for his miraculous abilities and his capacity to heal the sick. At the age of 18, he joined the Augustinian order and devoted himself to serving in the town of Tolentino, Italy. The statue, depicting the saint offering bread to the impoverished, was commissioned by the St. Thomas Augustinians. On the bridge, there is a replica sculpted by Jan Jiřikovský in 1969, while the original statue is housed in Gorlice at Vyšehrad.
  13. St. Luthgard (also known as The Dream of St. Luthgard): this is a remarkable sculpture crafted by the talented artist Matyáš Bernard Braun in 1710. This masterpiece holds the distinction of being Braun's first known work and stands out for its exceptional artistic quality on Charles Bridge Prague. The sculpture, carved from sandstone, is believed to have drawn inspiration from Bernini's renowned masterpiece, the Ecstasy of St. Theresa. The funding for this sculpture came from Evžen Tyttl, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Plasy. While the original sculpture is housed in the National Museum's Lapidary at the Exhibition grounds, a faithful copy was created by J. Novák and B. Rak in 1995. St. Luthgard, who lived during the transition of the 12th and 13th centuries in present-day Belgium, was a devoted member of the Cistercian order. She embarked on a life as a nun after experiencing an Epiphany of Jesus, who called upon her to follow him. During the last 12 years of her life, Luthgard was afflicted with blindness. Prior to her passing, she had a profound vision of Christ embracing her while pressing her lips against the wound on his hip. Braun's sculptural group beautifully captures this significant event.
  14. St. Adalbert, also known as Vojtěch: Another notable sculpture on the bridge is that of St. Adalbert, also known as Vojtěch. Crafted by Michal Jan Josef Brokoff, who happened to be the older brother of Ferdinand Maxmilián and possibly collaborated with him, this sculpture dates back to 1709. The statue portrays St. Adalbert in a richly pleated coat, standing on a pedestal adorned with angels and the emblem of Markus Joanelli, an alderman from the Old Town who generously sponsored the sculpture. The original sculpture can be found in Gorlice at Vyšehrad, while a copy, created by Vojtěch and Karel Hořínek, has been displayed on the bridge since 1973. Vojtěch of Slavník, the historical figure behind the sculpture, served as the second bishop of Prague and played a crucial role in establishing a Benedictine monastery in Břevnov. He narrowly escaped the extermination of his family at the hands of the Vršovec family by being in Rome during that period. Upon his return, he dedicated himself to missionary work among the Baltic Prussians in Pomerania, where he ultimately met a martyr's death in 997. As a result, St. Adalbert became a revered saint throughout Central Europe.
  15. St. John of Matha, Felix of Valois and Ivan: Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff crafted a remarkable sculptural group in 1714, portraying St. John of Matha, Felix of Valois, and Ivan. This masterpiece was commissioned by Count František Josef Thun on behalf of the Trinitarian order. The order, founded in the 12th century by St. John and Felix, devoted itself to the liberation of Christians held captive by pagans. The sculpture depicts St. John standing resolutely on a rocky pedestal, his broken handcuffs symbolizing his triumphant release. Standing alongside him is St. Felix, offering support and solidarity. Below them, hermit Ivan represents the revered country patrons. A cave with bars at the base of the rock illustrates the captivity of Christians, guarded by a menacing dog and a Turk armed with a scourge and a sabre. Behind the Turk, a deer bears a cross between its antlers, a poignant reminder of the founders' past as hermits, who were interrupted during their contemplation by the apparition of a deer adorned with a blue-red cross on its head.
  16. St. Václav: Another remarkable sculpture, crafted by Josef Kamil Böhm in 1859, portrays St. Václav. This statue was funded by Pavel Alois Klár, the son of the founder of Klár's Institute for blind people. The sculpture was dedicated to commemorating the institute's 25th anniversary.
The Sculptures on Charles Bridge Prague
The Sculptures on Charles Bridge Prague

Heading from the iconic Old Town Bridge Tower towards the enchanting Lesser Town on the right-hand side, one can behold a captivating array of sculptures that adorn the path. These remarkable artworks include:

  1. Madonna and St. Bernard: a masterpiece crafted by Matěj Václav Jäckel in 1709. This exquisite sculptural group was commissioned by Abbot Benedikt Littwerig of the Cistercian Monastery in Osek. At its core stands the majestic figure of Virgin Mary, cradling baby Jesus. Cast your gaze to the right, and you'll find St. Bernard, humbly kneeling in his friar attire, while a cherubic angel before him holds the abbot's hat. On the left, amidst a chorus of angels, lie symbolic representations of Christ's sufferings: a crucifix, nails, a hammer and tongs, a rooster figurine, and a veraicon. The veraicon serves as a poignant reminder of the legend of Veronique, who tenderly offered her scarf to wipe the face of the suffering Christ, only to witness his miraculous visage imprinted upon it. The original sculptural group now resides in Gorlice at Vyšehrad, while a copy was placed on the bridge in 1978-9, crafted by M. Vajchr, V. Hlavatý, J. and P. Vitvar, M. Tomšej, A. Viškovská-Altmanová, and J. Wolf. St. Bernard, a renowned religious thinker of the 12th century, held a significant role within the Cistercian order as a reformer. Throughout his life, he harbored a deep devotion to Virgin Mary, exemplified by his composition of the poem "Salve Regina" (Hail Queen). Dante himself praised this work, asserting that even the angels in heaven harmonize its melodious verses.
  2. The bearded man: a venerable piece of our historical public art. Initially, it adorned the third arch of Judith's Bridge on the side of the Old Town. However, during the bridge's renovation, it was carefully removed and integrated into the embankment wall that stretches between Charles Bridge and the Křížovnický Monastery, at the same elevation. This sculpture, depicting a bearded man, served as an ancient indicator for water levels in Old Bohemia. It provided crucial insight into the areas that would be affected if the water rose to the height of the beard, nose, or ears.
  3. Madonna, St. Dominic and St. Thomas Aquinas: Sculpted by the talented artist Matěj Václav Jäckel in 1708, a magnificent artwork depicts Madonna, St. Dominic, and St. Thomas Aquinas. This masterpiece showcases the two saints, who were the founders of the Dominican order, graciously receiving a rosary from Madonna. Positioned below Madonna, an image of the Earth is veiled in clouds, accompanied by a symbolic representation of a dog holding a torch in its mouth, symbolizing the "dogs of the Lord" or Domini canes. Originally commissioned by the Dominicans of St. Jiljí, this extraordinary statue now rests in the National Museum Lapidary at the Exhibition Ground. A replica of the sculpture, crafted by V. Bartůněk and S. Hanzl between 1958 and 1961, can be admired on the bridge.St. Thomas Aquinas, revered as one of the most brilliant thinkers of the medieval era and the founder of scholasticism, left an indelible mark on intellectual history.
  4. The Calvary and Holy Crucifix: have been fixtures in this location since the reign of Charles IV, serving as the initial adornment on the bridge. Over the years, the crucifix has undergone several replacements. In 1861, Emanuel Max crafted the sandstone sculptures of Virgin Mary and St. John. The current crucifix, made of bronze and coated with gold, was cast in Dresden in 1629 by H. Hillger. In 1657, it was acquired for Prague with a contribution from Karel Škréta.The crucifix features a prominent gold-plated Hebrew inscription that reads, "Holy, holy, holy is the God of the crowds" (Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, Adoshem Cevaot). The royal tribunal funded this inscription in 1696, as stated on the pedestal, using a fine imposed on a Jewish individual who had shown contempt for the crucifix. However, this legend is untrue, and the condemned person was falsely accused. This inscription, though incomprehensible and offensive to Jewish citizens and visitors, remains in place.To address the concerns of the Jewish community and city visitors, three plates were installed on March 8, 2000. These plates, designed by sculptor Vlastislav Housa, provide an explanatory note to clarify the significance of the inscription and its potential impact on religious beliefs.
  5. St. Anna: a sculpture on Charles Bridge Prague skillfully crafted by the talented artist Matěj Václav Jäckel in 1707, portrays the saint in a manner that resonated with the contemporary public. She is accompanied by her daughter, the Virgin Mary, and her beloved grandson, Jesus. Jesus lovingly embraces the Earth, clutching a crucifix, while Anne cradles him tenderly in her arms. In her other arm, she holds Virgin Mary, who gazes up at her with admiration and presents a beautiful bouquet of roses.The creation of this exquisite sculpture was made possible through the patronage of Count Rudolf of Lisov, who served as the chamberlain and marshal of the Old Town. The original masterpiece now rests in Gorlice at Vyšehrad. However, a replica, meticulously crafted by Vojtěch Adamec and Martin Pokorný, was erected on the bridge in 1999, allowing more people to appreciate its magnificence.
  6. Cyril and Methodius: Another remarkable sculptural group, depicting St. Cyril and Methodius, was expertly carved by the esteemed professor Karel Dvořák between 1928 and 1938. This monumental artwork stands in the place where Brokoff's sculpture of Ignatius of Loyola once stood until it tragically collapsed into the river during the devastating flood of 1890. The fragments of Brokoff's sculpture are currently exhibited in the Lapidary at the Exhibition Ground.Dvořák's sculptural group beautifully conveys the missionary endeavors of St. Cyril and Methodius and symbolizes the concept of Slavic unity. The artist was aware that his creation would inevitably be compared to the magnificent works of the high Baroque era. Thus, he meticulously dedicated an extended period of time to ensure that his sculpture achieved a harmonious blend of modernity and reverence for the neighboring artworks. Despite the challenges, Dvořák succeeded in fashioning a masterpiece that both pays homage to the past and presents a contemporary vision.The Ministry of Education commissioned this remarkable sculpture to commemorate the republic's 10th anniversary, and it was proudly unveiled in 1938, serving as a testament to the enduring cultural significance of St. Cyril and Methodius.
  7. Saint John the Baptist: portrayed in a sculpture crafted by Josef Max in 1855, was commissioned by J.N. Gemerich of Neuberg to replace Jan Brokoff's Baptism of Christ, which suffered damage during the 1848 revolution. The damaged sculpture is currently housed in the Lapidary. This depiction of John the Baptist, who is the patron saint of the Maltese knights known as the Johanites, features a crucifix and a shell on his left hip, symbolizing the commemoration of Christ's baptism.Distinguished by its rigid stillness, this statue stands apart from the dynamic Baroque sculptures of its time. Embracing the Romantic movement of the early 19th century, also known as Nazarenism, the sculpture emphasizes sentiment and graceful lines to enhance the religious motifs' appeal.
  8. The sculptures of Saint Norbert, Saint Václav, and Saint Sigismund: all created by Josef Max in 1853, occupy the same space. Originally, there was a sculpture of Saint Norbert, the founder of the Premonstratensian Order, crafted by Brokoff in 1708. However, it was replaced after sustaining damage during Prussian firing in 1764. A sculpture of Saint Norbert with angels, made by Ignác František Platzer, took its place. Unfortunately, both these sculptures have vanished, and their appearance is only known through contemporary engravings. The current sculpture, mounted on a neo-Gothic pedestal, was commissioned by Dr. J. Zeidler, the abbot of the Strahov Monastery.Saint Norbert established the Premonstratensian Order in the 12th century, and his remains were brought to Prague in 1627 by Abbot Kaspar Questenberk of the Strahov Monastery. The relics were placed in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary at Strahov.
  9. St. John of Nepomuk: a remarkable sculpture created by Jan Brokoff in 1683, stands as the oldest artwork on the bridge. The initial wooden model, now housed in St. John's church at Skalka, was skillfully carved by Jan Brokoff based on a clay sketch by Matthias Rauchmüller, a sculptor from Vienna. Interestingly, it is said that Brokoff underwent a religious conversion from Lutheranism to Catholicism during the creation of this masterpiece. The architectural design based on the wooden model was expertly executed by Jean Baptiste Mathey, while baron M. B. Wunschwitz commissioned the casting of the statue in bronze by the renowned Nuremberg bell-founder J. W. Heroldt. This statue of St. John of Nepomuk became an influential iconographic model for the creation of other statues depicting the saint, both in this location and abroad. Adorned with five stars encircling the saint's head, as well as a surplice, crucifix, and martyr's palm, these attributes are inseparable from the depiction. The stars are said to represent the five letters of the Latin word "tacet," which means "silent," and are believed to have appeared above the water when St. John of Nepomuk was thrown into the river.On the left relief, one can observe queen Sophia's confession, while the right relief portrays the fateful moment when Nepomuk was cast into the Vltava river. In the center, an inscription and a bronze emblem of the donor can be seen. Towering at a height of 2.5 meters and weighing 20 quintals, this statue had a price tag of 7000 golden pieces. It was dedicated in 1683 to commemorate the three-hundredth anniversary of St. John of Nepomuk's death, although the donor mistakenly miscalculated the actual event, as John of Nepomuk drowned in 1393. Among the destitute, John of Nepomuk enjoyed great popularity, as the Jesuits utilized his figure to suppress the memory of Jan Hus and Žižka. Along the balustrade, at the very spot where the saint met his watery fate (between the statues of John the Baptist and the sculptural group of the Bohemian patrons), a small double archbishop's brass cross rests on a marble plate, embellished once again with five stars. It is believed that if one places their hand on the cross, ensuring that each finger touches one of the stars, their secret wish will come true. The statue of John of Nepomuk is positioned on a three-tiered pedestal, housing three bronze cast plates. The first plate depicts queen Sophia's confession, the right plate portrays the moment when the saint was thrown into the Vltava river, and the central plate bears the Latin name of the statue's donor. Additionally, people often touch the relief on the statue of St. John of Nepomuk for good luck.John of Nepomuk served as the general vicar under Prague's archbishop, John of Jenštejn. In 1393, he was ruthlessly tortured and put to death by order of King Václav IV. His refusal to compromise religious principles to appease secular rulers, as well as his unwavering commitment to protect the secrecy of Queen Sophia's confession, led to his tragic demise.
  10. St. Anthony of Padua: Sculpted by Jan Oldřich Mayer in 1707, the exquisite statue of St. Anthony of Padua on Charles Bridge Prague showcases the revered preacher adorned in the traditional attire of Franciscan friars. Nestled in his arms is baby Jesus, symbolizing his devotion to the Christian faith, while a delicate lily adds a touch of grace. Once accompanied by an ornate wrought lantern, the sculpture was commissioned by Kryštof Mořic Witthauer, a prominent figure in the council of the supreme burgrave office at Prague Castle.Hailing from Portugal, St. Anthony of Padua was a distinguished member of the Franciscan order known for his extraordinary oratory skills. Renowned as a captivating speaker, he spent a significant portion of his life in Assisi before his passing in 1231. In honor of his legacy, a splendid temple was constructed above his resting place in Padua.
  11. St. Jude Thaddeus: Jan Oldřich Mayer also immortalized St. Jude Thaddeus in his sculpture from 1708. As one of Christ's apostles, St. Jude Thaddeus is depicted clutching the gospel in one hand, while the other holds a symbolic club that represents the weapon used by pagans to end his life. This magnificent creation was commissioned by František Sezima, the knight Mitrovský.
  12. St. Augustine: Jeroným Kohl, and potentially his step-son Jan Bedřich, crafted the stunning sculpture of St. Augustine. Dating back to 1708, the statue portrays the saint clutching a burning heart, symbolizing his passionate devotion to his beliefs. Under his feet lie heretical books, symbolizing his triumph over religious dissent. The pedestal proudly displays the emblem of the Augustinians, the generous benefactors who supported the creation of the sculpture. Although the original statue now resides in Gorlice at Vyšehrad, a copy sculpted by J. Dušek, O. Velínský, A. Sopr, and J. Hampl adorns the bridge since 1971.St. Augustine, born in 354, was a prodigious intellect hailing from modern-day Algeria. In his youth, he displayed a remarkable aptitude for learning, coupled with a penchant for revelry. However, under the influence of Bishop Ambrose and his fervent sermons, Augustine experienced a profound conversion to Christianity. In 396, he ascended to the esteemed position of bishop. Notably, he penned the rules that governed the lives of friars, which served as the foundation for numerous other religious orders that emerged in subsequent years.
  13. St. Cajetan: crafted by the skilled hands of Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff in 1709, showcases exquisite Baroque embellishments such as angels and clouds. A prominent triangular backdrop adorns the sculpture, symbolizing the Holy Trinity. This magnificent artwork was commissioned and funded by the former convent of Cajetans (Theatins) in Prague. St. Cajetan, the founder of this order during the 16th century, dedicated himself to aiding people during devastating plague epidemics.
  14. St. Philip Benitius: On Charles Bridge Prague, you'll find the splendid sculpture of St. Philip Benitius, masterfully sculpted by Michal Bernard Mandel in 1714. This unique artwork, the sole marble statue adorning the bridge, was created in Salzburg upon the request of the Servite order, of which the artist himself was a member. The complete piece was later placed on the bridge for all to admire. St. Philip possessed such fervor as a preacher that he was appointed as the order's general vicar. Despite being offered the prestigious role of becoming a pope, he humbly declined, as signified by the depiction of the papal tiara behind his right leg. In his left hand, he holds a crucifix, a sprig of flowers, and a book.In the year 2000, the restoration of this remarkable statue was successfully accomplished. The talented restorer Jiří Diviš crafted a brand new pedestal using four pieces of Božanov sandstone, weighing an impressive 3.5 tons and standing at a height of 1.8 meters. The restoration work itself was generously financed by the Liechtenstein family, with Michal Tomše and Jiří Kaifosz skillfully restoring the statue to its former glory.
  15. St. Vitus: The magnificent sculpture of St. Vitus, created by the talented artist Ferdinand Maxmilián Brokoff in 1714, stands as a testament to the dean of Vyšehrad Matěj Vojtěch of Löwenmacht's generosity. Depicting St. Vitus, who hailed from Sicily and lived during the 3rd century, the sculpture portrays him dressed as a Roman legionary. Poised on a rocky pedestal, he is surrounded by lions, which were intended to be his executioners but instead peacefully rest at his feet. Despite enduring the torment of being immersed in a scalding pitch cauldron, St. Vitus emerged unharmed. Ultimately, he met his demise after enduring excruciating torture in prison.St. Vitus holds great significance as the patron saint of Bohemia and is revered as the guardian of individuals afflicted with epilepsy, as well as those in the fields of dance, acting, and comedy. Notably, Emperor Henry presented Prince Václav with St. Vitus's shoulder armor, prompting the construction of a dedicated temple in his honor.
  16. St. Cosmas and Damian with Salvatore: This remarkable sculpture on Charles Bridge Prague was skillfully crafted by Jan Oldřich Mayer in 1709. Commissioned by the Medical Faculty, this sculptural group pays homage to St. Cosmas and Damian, the revered patrons of doctors. The saints are depicted in contemporary attire resembling Prague University professors, with containers of medicine and martyr palms in their hands. Positioned in the center, Christ, the redeemer of the world, serves as a symbolic presence. The inscription on the pedestal draws a parallel between Cosmas and Hippocrates, as well as Damian and Galenos, emphasizing their significance in the medical field.

Currently, the responsibility for overseeing the bridge lies with the esteemed Charles Bridge Association of Artists, while the preservation and upkeep of the magnificent sculptures adorning the bridge are entrusted to the capable hands of the Prague Gallery. Recognized as a National Cultural Monument, the Charles Bridge holds immense historical and cultural significance.

(Source of the sculpture descriptions: prague.eu.)

Unraveling the Legends and Mysteries

Legend has it that the foundation stone of Charles Bridge contains eggs mixed in its mortar, ensuring the bridge's strength and longevity. Another fascinating tale revolves around the statue of St. John of Nepomuk, which adorns the bridge. Touching this statue is believed to bring good luck and ensure your return to Prague.

Breathtaking Panoramic Views

Walking along Charles Bridge offers breathtaking panoramic views of Prague's enchanting skyline. As you stroll across the bridge, you'll be treated to captivating vistas of the Prague Castle, the Lesser Town, and the picturesque red-roofed houses that dot the landscape. This romantic setting provides the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a heartfelt declaration of love.

The view from Novotného lávka
The view from Novotného lávka © ZandArt

A Haven for Artists and Street Performers

Charles Bridge has long been a haven for artists and street performers, creating a vibrant atmosphere that adds to its allure. Talented painters display their masterpieces, capturing the bridge's essence on canvas, while skilled musicians serenade passersby with soul-stirring melodies. Immerse yourself in this creative energy and witness the bridge come alive with artistic expression.



Captivating Events on Charles Bridge Prague

Throughout the year, Charles Bridge hosts a myriad of captivating events that celebrate Prague's cultural heritage. From vibrant music festivals to mesmerizing fireworks displays, there's always something happening on the bridge. Keep an eye on the local events calendar, and you might just witness a memorable spectacle while exploring this historic landmark. Just a few from these are:

  1. Cultural Festivals: Charles Bridge is often a focal point for various cultural festivals celebrating art, music, dance, and theater. These festivals showcase local and international talent and provide a vibrant atmosphere for visitors.
  2. Street Performances: The bridge is a bustling hub for street performers, including musicians, dancers, magicians, and artists. You can witness live performances by talented individuals who entertain passersby with their skills and creativity.
  3. Art Exhibitions: Occasionally, art exhibitions and installations are set up on Charles Bridge, allowing artists to showcase their work in a unique outdoor setting. These exhibitions add an artistic touch to the bridge's ambiance.
  4. Historical Reenactments: Given its rich history, Charles Bridge occasionally hosts historical reenactments that bring the past to life. Actors dressed in period costumes reenact scenes from various eras, providing an immersive experience for visitors.
  5. Fireworks Displays: On special occasions such as New Year's Eve or national holidays, fireworks displays are often organized near Charles Bridge. These dazzling spectacles light up the night sky and create a memorable experience for onlookers.
  6. Charity Events: The bridge serves as a venue for charitable events and fundraisers, where organizations raise awareness and support for various causes. These events often include performances, auctions, and interactive activities to engage the public.
  7. Sporting Events: Occasionally, sporting events like marathons or races may start or finish at Charles Bridge. Runners and participants can enjoy the picturesque surroundings of the bridge as they compete in their respective events.

Tips for Visiting Charles Bridge Prague

To make the most of your visit to Charles Bridge, we've gathered some helpful tips for you:

  • Early Mornings or Late Evenings: Visit the bridge during early mornings or late evenings to avoid the crowds and experience its magical ambiance in tranquility.
  • Photography Hotspots: Discover the best photography spots by venturing to the sides of the bridge, where you can capture stunning shots of the river, the bridge's arches, and the surrounding cityscape. Best spots are: Kampa Island in Malá Strana, Letná Park, Legion Bridge, Střelecký Island, Charles Bridge's Towers, Mánes Bridge, Pavillon Hanavský, from a boat, Smetanovo Nábřeží, Petřín Lookout Tower or on the Charles Bridge Prague itself. For more see belindashi.com.
  • Local Artisans: Support local artisans by purchasing unique souvenirs and handmade crafts, which are often available along the bridge. These mementos will serve as cherished reminders of your time in Prague.


Site location: Karlův most, 110 00 Malá Strana

GPS coordinates: 50.086774, 14.409287

Google Photos: Click here


For more content and exciting articles, follow our site, where we regularly update our column to bring you the best ideas for events or things to do in Prague!

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