Charles Bridge is a medieval stone arch bridge that spans the Vltava River (Moldau) in Prague, Czech Republic. The construction of the building started in 1357 under the supervision of King Charles IV, and it concluded around the turn of the 15th century. The new Judith Bridge took the place of the former Judith Bridge built in 1158–1172, which was heavily damaged by a flood in 1342. The new bridge was originally known as Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or Prague Bridge (Pražský most), but since the year 1870, has been referred to as “Charles Bridge”
The construction of Charles Bridge was vital for the cities and towns surrounding Prague until the year 1841, when the construction of the Josefov Canal linked Prague Castle to the city’s Old Town and its neighboring areas. With the land connection now in place, Prague has increased in prominence as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the bridge is 516 meters (1,693 feet) long and nearly 10 meters (33 feet) wide, following the example of the Stone Bridge in Regensburg, it was built as a bow bridge with 16 arches sheltered by ice guards. It is guarded by three bridge towers: two of them are situated on the Lesser Quarter side (including the Malá Strana Bridge Tower) and one is on the Old Town side, which is located in the Old Town Bridge Tower. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 baroque-style statues, all of which were initially erected around 1700, but now all of them have been replaced with replicas.