Charles Bridge (Czech: Karlův most listen (help·info)) is a famous historical bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Location: 50°5'11.21”N 14°24'42.68”E? / ?50.0864472, 14.4118556. Its construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and finished in the beginning of 15th century. As the only means of crossing the river Prague, the Charles Bridge used to be the most important connection between the Old Town, Prague Castle and adjacent areas until 1841. Also this 'solid-land' connection made Prague important as a trade route between east and west Europe. The bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been the "Charles Bridge" since 1870. The bridge is 516 meters long and nearly 10 meters wide, resting on 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 often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style buildings in the world. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, erected around 1700. During the night Charles Bridge is a quiet witness of medieval times. But during the day it changes its face into a very busy place. Painters, owners of kiosks and other traders compete for the attention of numerous tourists crossing the bridge.