Monday, October 29, 2012

Charles Bridge, Prague

One of the must see sights in Prague is the Charles Bridge, built in 1357 by Peter Parler at the request of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. In 1657 a bronze statue of the crucifixion was added in the middle of the bridge. It was so popular that 30 other statues were added. The views up and down the Vltava River are quite impressive. We enjoyed our early morning walk to and on the bridge.

At first we saw the bridge and the castle above from afar.

Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral on the other bank of the river

Charles IV Bridge

Happy walkers

As we approached, we tried to take a short cut which was really a dead end. It worked out for Jacob since we saw a waterfall and a handsome statue of Bedrich Smetana, famed Czech composer. A museum dedicated to Smetana is nearby.

Awesome waterfall

Awesome composer Bedrich Smetana

Awesome view

Coming back around the dead end, we found the entrance to the bridge. Nearby were several churches, one part of the Klementinium, a Jesuit university founded in 1653. The other is dedicated to St. Francis Seraphinus, also from the 1600s.

One of many churches in the Klementinium

St. Francis Seraphinus Church

The bridge begins with the bridge tower. Statues of Czech kings and saints look down on the pedestrians.

Bridge tower

Detail of tower

Nearby is the ubiquitous "lovers' locks" left by couples who declare their love by putting a padlock with their initials on the fence. Keys are traditionally thrown in the river to show that they'll never break up. We've run into this before in other cities like Heidelberg.

Lucy, Froggy, and the locks!

Nearby flowers

Passing through the gate, we found the great variety of statues on the bridge. Here is a sampling.

Charles IV, Emperor for whom the bridge is named

Madonna and St. Bernard, founder of the Cistercians, c. 1709

St. Ivo, 11th c. Bishop of Chartres, c. 1711

Sts. Dominic and Thomas Aquinas with the Madonna and child, c. 1709

Hebrew Cross, inscription is "Holy, holy, holy Lord" c. 1657

The views from the bridge are quite spectacular as well. We noticed these buildings that were built on the water with the river running underneath them!

A river runs under it

Manesuv Bridge down river

We didn't go all the way across the bridge since the children's energy was flagging. We headed back into our side of the river and looked for a snack. We spotted some more interesting buildings along the way.

Which way do we go?

Pretty building

Interesting decoration on a building, not sure what it means

Rail trams and cars share tunnels

Our next destination was the Old Market Square, which is coming next!

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