Finding Praha: Sainted Along the Karlův most

karlov mostKarlův most (Charles Bridge), is one of the most picturesque and well traveled in the fairy tale city of Praha (Prague). It’s western tower seen in center.

Like St. Stephen’s in Vienna, Karlův most (Charles Bridge) becomes a central point defining the historic part of Prague. Here is a magical footbridge several hundred years old of a good distance (1/3 mile) with realistic statues of saints, etc. The bridge connects the Pražský hrad (Prague Castle) area to Staré Město (Old Town). It crosses over the  Vltava River which we had seen downstream at Český Krumlov. There are roughly 30 sets of statues* most done in the eighteenth century. Some of saints more obscure than others. Floods have washed away some of the saints. Some have been copied, replaced, or moved to other parts of town.

saints

st nich and christ off cross2

saints and rococo

shrine2Sorry for the out of focus shots, especially the little shrine, which was impossible to even get near Good Friday night and Holy Saturday (left) and the top half showing Sts. John of Matha, Felix of Valois and Ivan (right, also see shot below).

base of statueThe Turk with the big sword, who keeps the Christians locked up serves as a base for Sts. John of Matha, Felix of Valois and Ivan.

off bridge

DSC_0048xViews off the bridge.

Coming from a country where even the idea of the existence of Americas was not part of the scope of daily life, to walk across a bridge whose origins extend around the 11th century is amazing. The city is amazing in that it is so intact.

Fortunately during World War II, Prague never quite suffered the indignities of the famous war which razed cities like Warsaw, Budapest, or even Vienna. It did not lose its Parliament through Nazi destruction. Or even the theater of its Opera house by Allied bombings.  It did not see neighborhood destruction by the tanks of Russian Communists in 1956, nor 1968.

Hitler wanted to preserve it as if a twisted museum of vanished people. So its Jewish sections remain beautifully intact, including the old synagogues and the overcrowded cemetery. Not that any of the citizens of Prague invited him there in the first place, nor benefited by him being there. Perhaps in the end, it was the Saints that saved Prague.

karlov from bridgePražský hrad from the bridge.

___________________________________________________*St. Ivo; St. Bernard; Sts. Barbara, Margaret and Elisabeth; The Madonna with St. Dominic and Thomas Aquinas; Lamenting of Christ; Cavalry; St. Joseph; St. Anne; St. Francis Xavier; St. Cyril and Methodius; St. Christopher; St. John The Baptist; St. Francis Borgia; St. Norbet; St. Ludmilla; St. John of Bepomuk; St. Francis of Assisi; St. Anthony of Padua; St. Vincent Ferrer and Procopius; Bruncvik; St. Jude Thaddeus; St. Nicholas of Toentino; St. Luthgard; St. Cajetan; St. Adalbert; St. Philip Benitius; St. John of Matha, Felix of Valois and Ivan; St. Vitus; St. Wenceles; and Christ between St. Cosmas and Damian.

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One Response to “Finding Praha: Sainted Along the Karlův most”

  1. Patirck Says:

    Excellent travelogue!

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