The first time I visited Charles Bridge, I felt certain I was walking into a medieval fairy tale. Of course, I failed to pack my ball gown and glass slippers. I had stepped into this fairy tale wearing jeans and walking shoes! Thankfully, I wasn't alone. The bridge is a popular site in Prague; and everyone who crosses it seems to be equally as captivated!
Besides being beautiful and magical to look at, there are other reasons that make this bridge seem like it popped out of the pages of a fairy tale book. It was built by a king (of course!) -- King Charles IV. It is really old, built in 1357. It is flanked with towers (seriously, what fairy tale doesn't involve at least one tower?). And, as you walk across the bridge toward Old Town, there is a beautiful palace in the background.
Not convinced that this is a fairy tale bridge? Then take a look at it at night:
It screams "fairy tale," doesn't it?
The bridge is not only a means of getting from one side of the river to the other. In the 17th-century, it became a symbol of Catholicization rebirth after much religious conflict with the Protestants. Statues of saints were added, each with a story or legend of their own. For example, the eighth one on the right as you're walking toward Old Town is St. John of Nepomuk. According to legend, he was wrapped in chains and thrown to his death from this bridge. Touching the statue is suppose to bring good luck and the promise of a return trip to Prague. From the looks of the worn spots on the statue's base, people galore have put those fairy-tale wishes to the test. I admit, I did, too!
For the best views of the Charles Bridge, head to the bridge just north of it; and of course, a visit at night is a must! Climb the tower at the entrance of Old Town for spectacular views of the city.
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