Two Prague Towers

Mediaeval, Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque, Prague’s towers are as much a part of its magic as its castle, its bridges, its squares and its beautiful buildings. They perch on bridges, rise from rooftops or from ramparts and loom on corners, at junctions or the end of streets. They all have their own special style, charm and story. But still, there are two that stand as it were, above the rest.

The Powder Tower, Prasna Brana

Known for centuries as the New Tower, the tall dark tower that marks the end of Prague’s Celetna Street was originally one of the 13 entrances to the Old Town. It was modelled on Peter Parler’s 14th century Old Town Bridge Tower and was designed to form part of the grand landscape surrounding the royal residence of King Vladimir Jagellon.

Prague's Powder Tower
Prague’s Powder Tower

Work began on the tower in 1475 but when King Vladimir moved his court across the Vltava to Prague Palace, it was left unfinished. The building was used in the 17th century as a storage tower for gunpowder, hence its present name – the Powder Tower.

Construction did not resume on the tower until 1875, when it was redesigned and rebuilt by Josef Mocker. It was finally completed in 1886.

Today, the Powder stands at 69.5 metres. It peers over the shoulders of the buildings lining the Old Town Square and dominates the skyline beyond. It houses a fascinating exhibition on the building’s history and architecture and is open to visitors between 10.00 and 18.00 daily, from April to October.

The Jindrisska Tower, Jindrisska vez

The Jindrisska Tower  sits in the middle of Prague’s busy Jindrisska Street. Since the 14th century this thoroughfare, which gives the tower its name, has linked three of the city’s main points – Charles Square, Wenceslas Square and Senovazne Square.

The imposing 67.5 metre Gothic Tower was completed in 1475. Its first bell, a 500kg belle named Maria, was installed in 1518. In 1577 the clock tower was added. During the Hundred Years’ War, in 1648, the tower was damaged by the invading Swedish Army. Still it survived to receive its second bell, a 3,350kg monster named Jindrich. In 1801 a fierce storm broke the Gothic spire but mercifully left the rest of the tower untouched. In 1850, the third and final bell, 1,000kg Dominic was added

Today Jindrisska Tower is open to visitors who can take the panoramic view from its summit, or study its history and architecture in the exhibition hall. In 2003, the Jindrisska Tower restaurant opened. Lined with timber from the original belfry, it also displays the first bell, Maria in pride of place. Every day at 9.00a.m., 12p.m, 3.00p.m and 6.00p.m passers-by in the surrounding streets, can enjoy one of the belfry’s repertoire of 1,000 peals every day at 9.00a.m, 12.00p.m, 3.00p.m and 6.00p.m.




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