At Charles Bridge.
….as you walk across this 14th century stone bridge linking the two sides
of Prague. It’s perfect for holding hands, for stopping to intertwine your body
with the one you love, to lean against one of the 30 Baroque statues flanking
the bridge, and get lost in the warmth of a kiss.
It’s hard not to want to share the fairy-tale views of the Prague skyline with your
significant other. The moment you see the wide expanse of the river that flows
beneath the bridge, the Prague Castle towering above in its eminent position,
the moment you hear the trumpets of that jazz band playing Mississippi blues
right by the Mala Estrana bridge tower, you’ll want to love, again, for the
first time, or just love more.
For many years the only decoration on the bridge was a simple crucifix, but the
Catholic Church’s lust for ornamentation resulted in 30 statues being erected
between 1600 and 1800.
The oldest statue and probably the most relevant for those seeking and/or wishing
for long-lasting love, is that of John of Nepomuk, an archbishop who was
tortured and thrown off this very bridge at the behest of King Wenceslaus back
in the 14thcentury. And what does the saint have to do with love?
Everything. The king suspected that his wife was having an affair and because
Nepomuk was her confessor, the king demanded to know the name of her lover, but
the priest refused to break the Seal of the Confessional. So he died. Three reliefs below the statue depict his refusal to divulge the queen’s
confessions, his torture and death by drowning. Touching the third relief is
supposed to bring luck, protect one’s secrets and to defend one against