On this day in 1357, King Charles IV—King of Bohemia and The Holy Roman Emperor—laid the first stone for what was to become Prague’s Charles Bridge (or Karlův most in Czech). When completed in 1402, the bridge crossed the Vltava River, connecting one side of the city (the “Old Town”) to the other side (the Mala Strana, the “Lesser Town,” where one finds Prague Castle). Until 1841, it remained the only crossing point on the river and was an important factor in keeping Prague central to the flow of trade from Eastern to Western Europe—a position which kept the city coffers brimming.
The completed bridge became a focal Gothic feature in this “fairytale” Gothic city. From the start, the bridge was popular beyond its use as a river crossing. People would gather or stroll along the overpass and, today, it is crowded with street performers, young lovers and craftsmen plying their wares. The (mostly religious) Baroque sculptures lining either side of the bridge were later additions, added in the 1600’s and 1700’s, and those on-view today are replacements of the earlier, damaged works.
The Moser Bohemian cut crystal decanter, pictured above, was crafted in the same magical city as one will find the bridge—though it was made some 500+ years later. Please click on the photo above or come into the shop to see it.