Fine view of Prague's Mala Strana (Lesser Town
In the foreground, at the right, the Charles Bridge is shown. The Charles Bridge was constructed starting in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of the 15th century. The bridge replaced the old Judith Bridge built 1158-1172 that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. Originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most), it has been known as the "Charles Bridge" since 1870.
As the only means of crossing the river Vltava (Moldau) until 1841, the Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas and insured that Prague would become an important center of regional trade.