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Charles Bridge (Stone Bridge)

Facts About Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge, also called the Stone Bridge, was built in the 1350's by the famous King Charles IV. It is one of the oldest surviving complete and functioning monuments in Europe.

It is said that during its construction villagers from around Prague brought their eggs to the bridge. The yolks were mixed in with the stone. Somehow it makes the bridge stronger. Modern chemical tests of the bridge have verified that it does contain organic matter. Besides the chemical proof there is the fact that the bridge has withstood a lot of abuse.

Prague is constantly tormented by floods and the bridge usually has to take the brunt. All sorts of debris, fallen trees, garbage, pieces of washed out buildings get swept down the river. The journey usually ends when it hits against the bridge. During a flood in the 1870's three arches collapsed from the great pressure and two pillars fell.

But like all great men – the bridge resurrected and is still here today. It is constantly under repair - but here – serving its function. Lying across the Vltava River, the bridge enabled people from the city to cross the river and visit the King up in the Prague Castle. Today there is no King sitting on the top of the hill – instead there is the Czech government. The bridge connects the people with the government. No wonder it is always under some form of stress. A bridge that connects people with their rulers is bound to be a little beat up, with a few bruises and a violent history. But it stands there strong today, a symbol of the Czech people's ability to persevere through changing times.

My Experience On The Charles Bridge

I have been to the Charles Bridge at least ten times, in all the four seasons. Regardless of the time of year the best time to walk the bridge is early in the morning. Simply because it is before the hordes of people and merchants arrive. If you are on the bridge at 5am you are completely alone. If you are there at 10am you can barely breathe. Each side of the bridge is lined with merchants selling paintings or Prague dolls. And the center is teaming with tourists bumping into each other.

Do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting if you cannot get to the bridge early in the morning you should not go at all. You should definitely walk the bridge. Just be prepared to be rubbing shoulders with people from all around the world.

Besides early in the morning, the Charles Bridge is very nice in the evening. The Prague Castle is lit up and from the bridge Prague appears to be stuck in the year 1500. The bridge, with its cobbled floor, saintly statutes, and a Gothic castle overlooking the city, is very romantic and can be a perfect place for a kiss.

Polka Music On Charles Bridge

On the Bridge, about halfway, every time there is an older man with white hair turning a little lever on a box, there is polka music. As he spins the lever, music comes out of the box, kind of a ding, ding, dong, ding, ping, pong sound. It is nice the first time you hear it and for about two minutes. But hang around longer and your hair will start to turn white. It is one of those secrets of the Charles Bridge – how this man has not completely gone insane and jumped into the river. It completely baffles me that he can listen to that music every day for years. In case you are in doubt of the miracle of it all, you can try to withstand it yourself at home by buying one of his CD's.

Bring Your Own Beer To The Charles Bridge

The first time I crossed the bridge it was a hot summer's day. By the time I pushed my way across I built up a big thirst. Reaching the end I noticed a little patio bar and sitting down, I ordered a beer. I guzzled it down and watched the tourists mingle about. The bill came. I did the classic double look – looked at the bill, looked away, then looked at the bill again. My eyes did not deceive - I had found the most expensive beer in Prague - of course, where else but on the world famous Charles Bridge.

Am I Being Helpful?

I hope you find this website helpful. I created the website because I love Prague, I enjoy writing about it, and I get a weird kick out of helping you make your trip to Prague more enjoyable.

I wrote a book about local travel in Prague. The book is my pride, my joy, my unbiological offspring. It was written with a passionate heart. If you find this website helpful consider reading my book. You will receive an entertaining book full of useful tips that will instil in you the confidence to wander the local streets of Prague. The book is also included in the popular Prague Local Explore Kit Bag.

Thank you,
Roman : Prague 2017

Prague Local Travel Book