Charles Bridge was not lesser than a local synonym for the “one of the must-visit places in Prague”. Intrigued by this catchy name, after doing boating in river Vlatava, I decided to spend some time walking on the bridge and try to understand what people love to do.
Some facts about Charles bridge, Prague:
So, following a tourist guide who was addressing Chinese tourists, I came to know that Charles bridge was the oldest bridge in Prague. While the most of the Prague settled on the west side of the river (towards old town square), the king somehow decided to build a castle on top of the hillock across the river Vltava called Petrin hill.
And that is how Charles bridge came into existence as it was the only way to commute from town to the castle. Well, all were not allowed to cross the river Vltava towards the castle side of the bridge. Also, this side housed the quarters of the people working for the castle.
From the protection point of view, Charles bridge, the only way to reach the castle has three watch towers. Two watch towers at the end of the bridge and one in the middle towards the castle side. When you enter from the old town square side, you can see that watch tower.
The story does not end here. One of the most flamboyant and noticeable thing for which Charles bridge was famous because of the two rows of the statues all along the bridge. On the both of the sides of the bridge, you can see statues of the saints and even the famous statue of the Cruxificaiton of the Jesus.
However, these statues were removed later and were replaced by the replicas of the statues. Also, the Charles bridge had to go through a lot of restoration work since medieval times only. These restoration works were mostly employed because of the medieval wars and natural calamities like flood. You can still see those restoration works on the bridge pillars.
Charles bridge in modern days:
Owing to that fact that Charles bridge was not capable of carrying the weight of the modern vehicle because of the number of restoration works it had to go through, the government decided to ban the transport movement across the bridge. So, this bridge is only open for the pedestrians now.
You can see a lot of artists making a caricature of the people on the bridge. You will have to pay for it. Yes, you can take an ice cream cone and stand on the sidewalks and watch the tourists crossing on the bridge.
What to see from the Charles bridge, Prague
Charles bridge is an awesome place to enjoy the view of the city along the banks of the river Vltava. The roof of the most of the buildings are red in color and it presents a kind of symmetric structures. Watching the couples walking hand in hand is just a treat to the eye.
If you really want to observe the microexpression of a human face, just stand behind a Skechers who is making a caricature of a person. You will surely love the way the zig-zag lines give a shape to a face. If you stand on the sidewalks, you can see tourists’ boats and ships floating slowly on the river. Though the water is not so clear but still that is something you can relish seeing.
The best time to spend some time on the Charles bridge would be a clear evening. Just stand on the bridge and watch the sun go down behind the Petrin hill and getting lost somewhere behind the castles. The show is not over yet. You stay there for some more town. The cold wind from the river Vltava may tempt you to smoke there or pull up the hood of your jacket and rub your palms together. Or, just enjoy music from a street artist.
In next half hour, the yellow lights of the Prague castle lighten up and certainly, the entire view has gradually turned from a sparkling heaven. It’s not just the yellow lights falling on the wall of the castle but look down at the bright shimmering shadow being formed over the Vlatava river. Those moments are really too hard to resist to not to take a picture of the Prague castle in the evening.
Your hands would automatically reach out for the camera and you would make sure that you do not move from there until you get the best shot of the castle.
Later in the evening, you can either decide to walk on the other side of the river or you can simply walk towards the old town square. I always preferred the old town square. That’s the place in the evening where you can sip Pilsner beer with Pomme Frites and watch the life pass by in front of your very eyes.
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