Charles IV (Czech: Karel IV., German: Karl IV., Latin: Carolus IV; 14 May 1316 – 29 November 1378), born Wenceslaus, was the second king of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first king of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor.
He was the eldest son and heir of King John of Bohemia, who died at the Battle of Crécy on 26 August 1346. Charles inherited the County of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of Bohemia from his father. On 2 September 1347, Charles was crowned King of Bohemia.
On 11 July 1346, prince-electors elected him King of the Romans (rex Romanorum) in opposition to Emperor Louis IV. Charles was crowned on 26 November 1346 in Bonn. After his opponent died, he was re-elected in 1349 (17 June) and crowned (25 July) King of the Romans. In 1355 he was crowned King of Italy on 6 January and Holy Roman Emperor on 5 April. With his coronation as King of Burgundy, delayed until 4 June 1365, he became the personal ruler of all the kingdoms of the Holy Roman Empire.
The Charles Bridge (Czech: Karlův most listen (help·info)) is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Its construction started 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. This new bridge was originally called the Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or the Prague Bridge (Pražský most) but has been 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. This "solid-land" connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe.
The bridge is 621 m long and nearly 10 m 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, originally erected around 1700 but now all replaced by replicas.