CHARLES BRIDGE VISIT, PRAGUE
The Charles Bridge is a balcony within the city, a strategic link , and a symbolic monument within the urban historical landscape.
"Marco Polo describes a bridge, stone by stone. “But which is the stone that supports the bridge?” Kublai Khan asks. “The bridge is not supported by one stone or another,” Marco answers, “but by the line of the arch that they form.” Kublai Khan remains silent, reflecting. Then he adds: “Why do you speak to me of the stones? It is only the arch that matters to me.” Polo answers: “Without stones there is no arch.”
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
The bridge is 621 metres long and nearly 10 metres wide. It was built as a bow bridge with 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two of them on the Lesser Quarter side and the third one on the Old Town side. The Old Town Bridge Tower is considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.