The Charles Bridge (Karlův most) is a historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge or the Prague Bridge, but has been the Charles Bridge since 1870. The bridge is 621 meters (2,037 feet) long and nearly 10 meters (33 feet) wide, resting on 16 arches.
There are 30 statues mounted to the balustrade of the Gothic bridge. Most sculptures were erected between 1683 and 1714. They depict various saints and patron saints venerated at that time. One of the oldest statues, the statue of St. John of Nepomuk (Sv. Jan Nepomucky), has a famous legend behind it. The legend tells that Saint Jan Nepomucky (the court priest Jan Velflín) drowned in the Vltava river because of his refusal to betray the seal of the confession. 620 years ago (March 20, 1393), he was tortured and thrown into the river from Charles Bridge at the behest of Wenceslaus IV, King of the Romans and King of Bohemia. The king was afraid that his wife had a lover. As she was used to confessing to the priest, he ordered him to tell the queen’s confession, but to no avail. Therefore the king ordered John to be drowned. There is a believe that the statue of St. John of Nepomuk has a magical power. People come to touch a plaque fixed to a statue and make a wish.
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