The Charles Bridge, or Karlův most in Czech, is the oldest in Prague and spans the Vltava River from the Old Town to the Lesser Town. It is the second oldest existing bridge in the Czech Republic.
Its construction began in 1357 with the approval of King Carlos IV and was completed in 1402. Since it was the only way to cross the river, the Charles Bridge became the most important communication route between the City Old Town, Prague Castle, and adjacent areas until 1841. The bridge was also an important connection for trade between Eastern and Western Europe.
Before 1870, the structure was called the 'Stone Bridge'.
The bridge is 516 meters long and almost 10 meters wide, while 16 arches support it. It is protected by 3 towers distributed between its two headwaters, two of them in Malá Strana and the remaining one located in the Old City. The tower located at the head of the Old City is considered by many to be one of the most impressive constructions of Gothic architecture in the world. The bridge is decorated by 30 statues located on both sides of it, most of which are in the Baroque style and were sculpted around 1700.
During the nights, the Charles Bridge is a silent witness to medieval times. But during the day, his face changes completely and becomes a bustling place. Artists and merchants try to make money at the expense of the significant flow of tourists who visit the place every day.
The need for a new bridge arose after a flood destroyed the old Judith Bridge in 1342. This Romanesque-style bridge had been named after the wife of King Ladislaus I.
Astrologers and numerologists determined that Charles IV had to attend the fundamental stone establishment at 5:31 am on July 9, 1357. This precise moment can be stated as 135797531 and forms a sequence of ascending and descending odd digits, which is found engraved in the tower of the Old City.
The construction of the Charles Bridge lasted until the early 15th century. To support the work financially, tolls were charged, a task that was initially carried out by the religious order of the Knights of the Red Star Cross and later by the municipality of the Old City (until 1815).