The Gothic Charles Bridge is easily the most recognizable sight in the beautiful city of Prague. Legend has it that the builders added eggs to the foundation in order to make it stronger. After an extensive cleaning and restoration this year, the rumor is said to be true as experts indeed found traces of eggs in the many layers of materials. Strange superstitions abound, the construction of the Gothic bridge started in 1357; it is said that Charles IVs astronomers commenced at the lucky time of 5:31 on the 9th of July in 1357 (a sequence of odd ascending and descending numbers). The bridge was completed in the 15th century. In the 1700s Baroque sculptures and statues were lined across the bridge on both sides, giving it the appearance we see today, although the original pieces of sculpture have been replaced by replicas and are currently housed and protected in the Lapidarium of the National Gallery. The building of Charles Bridge, originally named the Stone Bridge, was important for trade routes between west and east Europe, and was for a long time, the only way to reach Old Town from Hradcany and vice versa. Three massive towers, two guarding the Mala Strana side and one grand tower on the side of Old Town, protect the bridge; it is this latter tower that is considered one of the finest examples of civil Gothic architecture in Europe. Charles Bridge is flooded with tourists, musicians and art kiosks during the day, if you wish to explore and investigate the bridge on your own, it is best to go early in the morning or later in the evening when it is at its most magical and mystical.
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