Thirty statues have been set on the bridge piers line the 10 meter wide walkway depicting religious figures. Today they have been replaced by replicas to protect them from environmental damage.
At the Old Town or “Stare Mesto” end of the bridge on the downstream side, a carved stone head known as the Bearded Man or Bradac can be seen. When the water rose above this medieval carving, the people of Prague took this as a sign of imminent danger of flooding. Nearby is a modern flood gauge, marked on it is the level of flooding experienced in 2002. This mark is 2 meters higher than the head of Bradac.
As you can imagine with such a popular tourist attraction, it can become very busy. If you add the street entertainers and the souvenir vendors, busy translates into crowded. For a quieter time you would be advised to visit either early morning or in the late evening.
Charles Bridge is a stone gothic bridge that acts as a pedestrian route over the Vltava River connecting the Old Town with the Lesser Town. Commissioned by King Charles IV, construction commenced in 1357 and attributed to architect Master Otto and later Peter Parler. It stands on the site of the first stone bridge to cross the river which was destroyed by a flood in 1342 and named the Judith Bridge. The views from the bridge of the city are truly magnificent, so it is no wonder that this is one of the most “must see” tourist attractions in Prague.
Astrologists to Charles IV predicted that the best time for the bridge’s construction would be in 1357 on 9th July at 5:31 am. The Old Town Bridge Tower has the numbers 135797531 carved on it to depict this event.