Charles Bridge was commissioned by Emperor Charles IV in 1357. Construction was headed by Peter Parléř and it was finished in 1402. The bridge is 515 m long and has sixteen arches. The 31 sculptures were made between the years 1657 and 1938.
In 2007 Charles Bridge became the main theme for the promotion of Prague, as it celebrated the 650th anniversary of its foundation, an ocassion of significance for the cultural history of the whole of Europe. In the early morning on 9th July, at 5:31, the laying of the foundation stone was re-enacted. However, the bridge is always busy, even when it is not celebrating any anniversary. It is such a significant landmark that it is one of the few bridges to have its own museum. It can be found right at the foot of the bridge and can reveal many secrets about this fascinating monument which is rich in legends. Whether it is the story about St. John the Nepomuk, or the legend about the punishment of dishonest merchants, find out more at the Museum of Charles Bridge. It is characteristic in that its exhibitions are continually updated with new information from historians and archeologists. There you can see how Charles Bridge, and its predecessor Judith Bridge, were actually built.
Who knows whether the actual foundation stone of the bridge will one day be on display in the museum. Historians have been looking for it for a long time. It was not found during the reconstruction in the 1960's and a probe carried out by workers of SMP CZ company, at the so-called zero arch at Křižovnické square, did not come up with an answer either. Reconstruction work on the bridge is barely one third complete, so a surprising discovery cannot be ruled out during the work. Even though the bridge is under reconstruction, it is still open to the public and tourists won’t be deprived of the views from it. On the other hand, many people are interested in watching the reconstruction work. With a bit of luck you may see a stone balustrade being dismantled or renewed, which is being carried out in the traditional stonemason's way.