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  • Prague 1, Křižovnická 191/3, 110 00 Prague 1-Old Town, Czechia

Charles Bridge was the second Prague bridge over the Vltava, built after Judith's Bridge  of stone. That is why it was also called the Stone Bridge until the middle of the 19th century.

We do not know for sure what stone or stones it was built of, because no documents have been preserved about it. We can only deduce this from the preserved remains of the original bridge, or from other known facts.

The face block masonry and railings were made of various of our sandstones. They were certainly the sandstone (arkose) of Žehrovice from Kamenné Žehrovice in the Kladno region and the sandstone from Horoušany east of Prague, which later, according to the neighboring Nehvizd, came to be called Nihvizd sandstone. Both of these sandstones were demonstrably imported in the years 1372-1378 for the construction of the church of St. Vít and with them other sandstones from the vicinity of Kostelec and Brandýs nad Labem. It is probable that these were also used for the parallel construction of the bridge. It is also probable that sandstones from nearby Petřín were used, especially their stronger basal parts. He could do it  be also Hloubětín sandstone from the quarry of the Order of the Red Star Crusaders in Hloubětín. Some sandstone blocks from the neighboring ruins of Judith's Bridge were almost certainly used for the construction of the Charles Bridge.

The core of the bridge was lined with broken Petrin marl, flooded with lime mortar. 

For the later numerous repairs of the bridge, demonstrably for the first time after the battles with the Swedes in 1648, mainly the sandstone of Zelezrovice was used. For extensive repairs after the flood in 1890, it was Hořice sandstone, first from Hořice itself, later from Podhorní Újezd. During the overhaul of the bridge in the years 1966-1975, the Božanov sandstone, partly also the Libnav sandstone, from the Broumov region was used.

In addition to sandstones, granite was used to a limited extent for bridge repairs. At the bottom of the pillars No. 5 and 6, restored after the flood in 1890, was granite from Těchnice near Orlík. The current paving of the bridge (from 1974-1975) is made of gray granite from Boršov u Jihlava and pink granite from Zderaz in the Skuteč region. 

With the exception of the bronze statue of St. Jan Nepomucký also has all 29 remaining statues and sculptural groups of Charles Bridge made of stone. One (St. Philip Benitius) is made of Salzburg marble, the rest of our various sandstones. 

Of the preserved originals on the bridge is a statue of St. Judy Tadeáš from the Železovice sandstone, the sculptural group of St. Norbert, Václav and Zikmund and the statue of St. Wenceslas from Nihvizd sandstone, sculpture of St. Cyril and Methodius from the sandstone of Bohany and the remaining fine-grained sandstones of unknown provenance. Copies of statues of St. Iva, sv. Francis Xavier, St. Mikuláš Tolentýnský, St. Augustine, St. Luitgard and St. Ludmila are made of Hořice sandstones, copies of statues of St. Adalbert and St. Anna of Božanov sandstone and a copy of the sculpture of the Virgin Mary with St. Dominic and Thomas Aquinas and the Virgin Mary with St. Bernard of Mšenský sandstone. There are also pedestals of statues and sculptural groups of various sandstones, for older works mainly made of Žehrovice sandstone, and for copies made of Božanovské sandstone. 

Exposed sandstone samples: 
A - Zelezrovice sandstone (from the reopened quarry at Doks)
B - Hořice sandstone (from the quarry near Podhorní Újezd)
C - Božanov sandstone (from the quarry near Bočanov)
D - Libnava sandstone (from the quarry near Libná)

Samples A and B were made and donated by KÁMEN Ostroměř, samples C and D sro by GRANIT Lipnice.

Charles Bridge in dates:


lP 1357 - July 9, perhaps as early as 5 am 31 minutes in the morning, the construction of Charles Bridge began. The foundation stone of the building was laid by Emperor Charles himself, the date was not chosen at random. In the 14th century, it was obvious that a horoscope was compiled for very important buildings. The position of the planets was more than convenient on July 9. The conjunction of Saturn (greatest evil) occurred 24.1 ° (ecliptic longitude) Cancer with the Sun (greatest good) 24.3 ° Cancer. Evil is compensated by the highest trump card, so it is a very favorable horoscope. Another important element of the horizon is the ascendant, the part of the sky below the horizon that is yet to rise. On July 9, 1357, the constellation Leo was in the ascendant. The lion has been a heraldic symbol of Czech kings since the middle of the thirteenth century and also astrologically controls Prague and Bohemia. In addition, the horoscope of the foundation of Charles Bridge has another peculiarity. All the planets except Mars, known in the 14th century, were visible above the Prague horizon that night. If we count on the foundation of the bridge at 5 am 31 minutes in the morning, Mars (a symbol of great deeds, but also war) is coming out at this very moment. Also, all the planets except Mars and the Moon were in Cancer and Pisces, or in water signs. So we see that the horoscope was really extraordinary for both Prague and the waterworks, the stone bridge. Apart from the astrological context, we find in Prague the name of the first builder of the bridge, the master builder Otto, referred to as lapicida ... magister pontis pragensis, who led the construction until 1375, when Petr Parléř took over it after his death. The surface of the bridge was increased by 4-5 meters compared to Judith's bridge, the number of pillars decreased from 20 to 16.

l. P. 1367 - The flood destroyed one pillar of the bridge under construction. A temporary wooden bridge was also damaged.

lP 1378 - On December 11, a mourning procession came out of the royal palace, carrying the body of the deceased Czech king and Roman emperor Charles. According to some sources, it crossed the Charles Bridge, which at that time, however, was probably only temporarily finished with wooden beams and scaffolding.

lP 1383 - Wenceslas IV. sets a fee for the use of Charles Bridge. However, the bridge was certainly not completely completed at this time.

lP 1393 - On March 20, the helpless body of General Vicar Johánek of Pomuk is thrown over the railing into the Vltava. An admirable tangle of events, endeavors and supplications begins, leading to the canonization of John in 1729.

lP 1399 - On July 13, Petr Parléř, the second builder of Charles Bridge, died. With the certainty of his workshop we can attribute the vaulting and decoration of the Old Town Bridge Tower and perhaps also about more than half of the building itself. Petr managed the construction for 24 years. After his death, the finishing work was taken over by an unknown master today.

lP 1407 - After the death of Petr Parléř, there are still documents of donations to the bridge's building stock. It can be assumed that after 1399, about 20% of the bridge body still had to be completed. Sometime around 1407, the bridge reached the gate of the Lesser Town. This year, there are documented problematic ownership relations, which are delaying the completion.

lP 1409 - January 18 issued by King Wenceslas IV. the so-called Kutnohorský Decree, which regulated the right to vote at the university in favor of the Czech nation in a ratio of 3: 1. This regulation led to the exodus of German university professors and students from Prague. Several thousand foreigners allegedly left Charles Bridge.

lP 1411 - This year, the reconstruction of the Lesser Town gate (according to the preserved heraldic decoration) was probably completed. The last surviving pre-Hussite gift for the construction of the bridge also comes from the same year. It therefore seems that by 1411 the bridge was at least roughly completed.

lP 1419 - The only known mention of damage to Charles Bridge during the Hussite Revolution. The statue of the Crucified Christ was destroyed by the iconoclasts. Perhaps the first evidence of sculptural decoration of the bridge.

lP 1432 - A devastating flood in Prague damaged Charles Bridge. According to the chronicle of Bartošek of Drahenice, who apparently merged two different testimonies: "four arches with three pillars or supports of the Prague stone bridge and five arches were broken and refuted". According to the Třeboň Chronicle: "the bridge of the Greater City of Prague was torn in five heads" According to the Old Chronicles: "the new stone bridge ... was torn to the ground" and she swept him away, but "then they were all bravely screwed up and repaired with railings." The repair probably took place in a similar way as ninety years ago in the case of Judith's Bridge. This time, however, the bridge was preserved. It was repaired only with a temporary wooden structure, then with wooden bridges and finally with stone arches.

lP 1433 - The names of three bridge officers are explicitly mentioned - Vaněk from the Five Crowns, Otmar and Matěj Drdák. They were tasked with starting to repair the bridge after the catastrophic flood.

lP 1436 - We know a fragment from the bridge accounts in which eight weeks of bridge repair activities are reported. Among other things, the temporary wooden structure was replaced by a wooden bridge. Knightly tournaments were held on Charles Bridge in honor of the restaurant of Emperor Sigismund on the Czech throne.

lP 1443 - 1467 - Records from this period show that 12,000 groschen were issued for the repair of the bridge. Repairs and annual repairs were therefore underway.

lP 1451- According to the chronicles of Beneš Minority, the higher Lesser Town Bridge Tower was founded this year. According to an appendix to Bartoš's chronicle, however, this was not the case until 1464.

lP 1458 - 1471 -According to later reports by Bohuslav Balbín and Jeník of Bratřice, a equestrian statue of George of Poděbrady stood in the middle of the bridge. Its origin can be traced to the time of George's reign, ie 1458-1471.

lP 1459 - George of Poděbrady donated the proceeds from the bridge duty to the Old Towns so that the "sad demolition" of the magnificent Prague bridge, as good stewards, "could like to take care"

lP 1491 - Two stone bridge arches built. Old chronicles: "That summer, two bridge decks made a bridge ..."

lP 1496 - The bridge partially collapsed after a heavy load passed over the bridge. Old annals: "... the bridge of Prague broke down where the torments of God were, and before that they took the stone with eight horses that day, and then it happened at night"

lP 1502 - The last arch of Charles Bridge was vaulted this year.

lP 1503 - As of June 22 this year, the University of Liber decanorum requires the complete completion of the bridge.

lP 1522 - The young Ludvík Jagellonský came to Prague with his wife. On the way across the Charles Bridge, Matěj Kakas, a saddler, invented a humorous performance for them. They brought necks with three species and sat on them, trying to give the impression of horseback riding. They rolled and screamed in various ways and finally jumped from the bridge into the Vltava. They were pulled out with cheers. However, one of them died the next day.

LP 1527 - On February 5, Emperor Ferdinand I of Habsburg enters the bridge to be crowned King of Bohemia at Prague Castle.

lP 1588 - In the spring a bear appeared on the bridge. People fled and hid. The bear was still walking calmly across the bridge. It soon became clear that the bear belonged to Archbishop Martin Medek, Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of the Red Star, and that he had escaped from the fence near the monastery on the Old Town side of the bridge. The sent little boy caught up with him at St. Tomas and led him back.

lP 1619 - On October 31, Fridrich Falcký arrived in Prague. According to chronicles, while crossing the Charles Bridge, his wife, Elizabeth Stuart, disliked the crucifix standing on the bridge. He was ordered to tear him down.

lP 1620 - On November 8, 1620, Fridrich Falcký flees with his wife and child across Charles Bridge from Prague. An hour later, the victorious imperial troops enter Prague.

LP 1621 - On June 21, 27 rebellious Czech lords were beheaded in the Old Town Square. The heads were disgraced to all Czech evangelical people in iron crabs on the Old Town Bridge Tower.

lP 1629 - Ferdinand II. he had a new crucifix made for Charles Bridge in the workshop of the court sculptor Arnošt Jan Heidelberg.

lP 1648 - On July 26, the Swedes conquered the Lesser Town of Prague. The heroic defenders of the Old Town from the ranks of Jesuits and university students and teachers, hidden behind barricades under the Old Town Bridge Tower, defended the right bank of the Vltava. During the Swedish shelling, the western facade of the tower and the statue of Roland (now Bruncvík) on the ridge of the 10th northern pillar were almost completely destroyed.

lP 1650 - Architect Carlo Lurago started the repair of the Old Town Bridge Tower.

lP 1661- An order was issued banning begging on a bridge.

lP 1683 - According to an erroneous record for the 300th anniversary of the overthrow of Jan Nepomucký into the Vltava, a statue of St. Wunschwitz was erected on the bridge, at the request of Matyáš Bohumír, Jan Nepomucký. The model for the sculpture, the so-called bozzeto, was made by the Viennese sculptor Mathias Rauchmiller, the wooden sculpture by Jan Brokof and cast in bronze in Nuremberg by Wolff Hieronymus Herold.

lP 1684 - After a long time, a basket for punishing dishonest bakers is again destroyed on the Stone Bridge. They were locked in it and either exposed to public embarrassment or submerged in the water.

lP 1700- Another statue was erected on the bridge, St. Wenceslas by Otavio Most

lP 1704 - 1714 - Another 26 statues were erected on the bridge. Charles Bridge has thus become unique in Europe, a gallery of amen sculptures in the open air, a stone centaur.

lP 1723 - A new patent for begging on a bridge has been issued. Special notice is given to poor students. They should not run behind carriages on the bridge and must not be too intrusive when collecting charity. It is recommended to stand decently and in a state of disrepair under one of the statues and sing religious songs.

lP 1744 - During the Prussian invasion, a bloody cut occurred on the bridge. The commander of the defenders, wanting to inflict incurable wounds on the enemy, ordered the demolition of a piece of the bridge. Fortunately, the structure withstood and the Prussian soldiers were defeated anyway.

lP 1759 - On January 19, the provincial governorate issued an order for transport on the bridge. From this date, cars and carriages are instructed to drive on the bridge on the far right.

lP 1763 - Municipal regulation on lighting during the night crossing of the bridge. It is ordered not to beat the fagules, or torches on the bridge railing, as there is a risk of fire.

lP 1784 - Customs duties were no longer collected when crossing the bridge and the Most office was abolished. There was a huge flood in Prague, which damaged the bridge and caused great damage to the sculptural decoration. The 6th pillar of the bridge collapsed (from the Old Town Bridge Tower on the left). A guardhouse with four soldiers, none of whom survived, fell into the flooded waters. The next day, another pillar collapsed. In the summer of the same year, on the other hand, there was such a drought that the foundations of Judith's Bridge could be seen.

lP 1786 - A basket for punishing dishonest bakers was removed from the bridge. Also, the Josephine reforms abolish the gallows and gallows.

LP 1815 - On November 23, the collection of tolls and bridges was definitively abolished by imperial decree. In 1816, they were replaced by the so-called food tax, popularly called action.

lP 1821 - From the Old Town Square, across the Charles Bridge to the Lesser Town Square. This is the path of the first horse omnibus in Prague. For 5 tailors.

lP 1835 - Due to frequent accidents on the bridge, sidewalks made of iron plates were established. However, they did not work, especially in winter, walking on them was very dangerous. They were abolished in 1849

lP 1836 - On September 7, the last coronation procession in the history of the Czech Kingdom crossed the Charles Bridge. Emperor Ferdinand I, together with his wife, was crowned King of Bohemia.

lP 1847 - 1848 - The Old Town bridgehead is being modified. An open space was bridged between the westernmost arches of Charles and Judith's bridge. The baroque guardhouse building was demolished. A new embankment wall made of sandstone blocks was built and the newly created area was landscaped. A statue of Charles IV was placed on the newly created square. by Dresden sculptor Ernst Julius Hähnel. Due to the revolutionary riots, it was not officially discovered until January 31, 1851.

lP 1848 - On June 12, barricades were built under the Old Town Bridge Tower, and the bridge became the scene of fighting again. But not for long, six days later, the insurgents capitulate to the well-armed imperial army.

lP 1870 - The name Křižovnické náměstí begins to be used. It was originally called On the Bridge Square. This year, the name Charles Bridge was also adopted. The bridge was formerly called Kamenný or Pražský. Karel Havlíček Borovský pushed for the change.

LP 1883 - On August 1, a ceremonial ride of the new horse-drawn tram line on the route from the National Theater to Křižovnické náměstí and across Charles Bridge to Malostranské náměstí took place. A double-track line led across the bridge, and for the first time, tram tracks were sunk into its bridge deck.

lP 1890 - On September 4, a huge flood swept into Prague, which tore off rafts with wood stored at Císařská louka, in Podskalí and Na Výtoni. A pile of fairway stood on Charles Bridge and literally knocked it out of the foundations. At six-thirty in the morning, the sixth and seventh arches fell, and at half-past nine the lions fell. The work of destruction has been completed. For two years, the people of Prague walked on a temporary wooden structure.

lP 1892 - On November 19, the repair of the bridge after the flood was completed.

lP 1901 - The City Council approved the establishment of an electric railway line on Charles Bridge. The overhead line was to be used. A wave of resistance arose against the decision. Wires can't spoil a bridge.

lP 1903 - It is also the establishment of a tram over the bridge. The horse track is highly prolonged. Ing. František Křižík was entrusted with the task of solving unsightly electric wires. These are inserted into the bridge deck.

lP 1905 - on May 12, the horse ends on Charles Bridge. From May to August it is built according to Křižík's plans. On August 13, a successful test is performed. On September 28, the tram operation on Charles Bridge is inaugurated.

lP 1908 - Operation of trams on the bridge is interrupted. There are fears that the historic monument will not bear such a burden. Trams are being replaced by buses, but they have also failed, which is why their operation was terminated next year. It was restored in 1932.

lP 1962 - Charles Bridge is declared a National Cultural Monument.

lP 1965 -This year, car traffic on Charles Bridge is permanently canceled.

lP 1965 - 1978 - At this time, the Charles Bridge is being overhauled. Weathered blocks have been replaced, and a new waterproofing system has been installed in the bridge. The interior of the bridge is filled with concrete. The not-so-happy repair concept will result in a number of transgressions and defects in the future.

lP 2007 - On June 17, the Charles Bridge Museum is ceremoniously opened. This year, an extensive repair of the railing and bridge deck of the bridge has also begun. The casing will be repaired.

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