The Legend of Bruncvík
Adaptation of a Prague Legend
Spring 2015 Illustration at Prague Institute
The thirty statues of saints seen on the Charles Bridge were not erected there until the mid-eighteenth century, after the bridge was built. For centuries, the citizens of Prague have been teasing foreigners by asking them, “How many statues are there on Charles Bridge?" A trick question, Praguers know that there are really thirty-one statues. The thirty-first is the figure of Bruncvík with a golden sword, which stands on a pier just to the side of the bridge. Similar columns topped with a knight exist in other European countries, where they were originally raised as a sign of jurisdiction of the city corporations. Unlike these other knights, however, Bruncvík on Charles Bridge has a lion crouching at his feet. What followed is the story of how the dauntless Prince Bruncvík, a legendary symbol of the Czech Republic, won the image of the lion for the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Bohemia.
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