The Charles Bridge spanning the Vltava is one of the main attractions of Prague. It is a 520-meter long pedestrian bridge decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues. The bridge is supported by 16 massive arches faced with sandstone.
Already in the Early Middle Ages Prague occupied both banks of the Vltava, which were at first connected by a wooden bridge. The first stone bridge was built in 1172. The bridge built under the Prince Vladislav II was named Judith Bridge, after his wife Judith of Thuringia. But already in 14 century there arose a need in a wider bridge. Construction of the new bridge began in 1357, under the auspices of King Charles IV, when the Judith Bridge badly damaged by a flood.
The construction was commissioned to the architect Peter Parler who also was the author of some other significant sights of Prague such as St. Vitus Cathedral and the Church of Mother of God before Týn. He also built three bridge towers – two on the Lesser Quarter side and one on the Old Town side.
Statues of saints attracts a special attention to the Charles Bridge. As they got black with age this creates a peculiar spirit of the Old Prague. The statues were installed during 1706-1714. And the bronze statue of Jan Nepomucky is considered the most sacred of them. Most of the other statues are made of sandstone.