On most days in Prague, it feels like every tourist in town has gathered on the Charles Bridge. And for good reason - this 14th century bridge crosses the Vltava River, connecting the Old Town with the Lesser Town (Mala Strana) and providing broad picturesque views of the riverbanks, medieval churches, towers and Prague Castle on the hill.
King Charles IV commissioned the bridge, which dates to 1357. The cobblestone bridge spans 16 arches and is protected by two towers on either end - the Old Town Bridge Tower in Old Town and the Judith Tower in Lesser Town - and features huge Baroque statues of spiritual figures. In addition, historic battles against the Swedes (1648) and the Prussians (1744) were fought here.
The best time to go is at dawn, sunset or after dark after the crowds have thinned and romance is in the air. Simply magical!
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Watching the sun rise over the Charles Bridge
Getting up at six A.M. was well worth it. I remembered not really having a decent sense of direction that morning, but I allowed myself to run through the empty streets of the Old Town. My prize was a tourist-free, near-empty Charles Bridge in the soft morning light.