Of all the sights in Prague, Charles Bridge is probably the best known. Construction on the bridge began in 1357 but was only finished at the beginning of the 15th century. Immediately identifiable by its dramatic array of 17th-century baroque statues (depicting various saints), and by its smart-looking tower bridges at both ends, the bridge has become one of Prague’s most iconic symbols – and it shows.
rnBy day it’s packed with tourists flowing in both directions, periodically pausing to admire the views, have their caricature sketched, watch a jazz band or buy a trinket. The only time you can get it to yourself (more or less) is early in the morning or late at night, and even then you still might have to share your experience with the remnants of rowdy groups of foreigners out on the town.
rnBudding numerologists and ardent palindromists may be interested in the digits carved into the Old Town Bridge Tower – ‘135797531’. They represent the precise moment – 5.31am on 9 July, 1357 – when Charles IV laid the foundation stone for the bridge, as advised by his royal court of astrologers and number-crunchers.