Prague Towers Information
Lesser Town Bridge
Lesser Town Bridge Tower which is at the western end of the magnificent Charles Bridge dates all the way back to the 13th century. It is in fact two towers of slightly different appearance and size with a gateway that connects the two battlements. These gateways were put to use during the centuries as a sort of fortification until quite badly damaged by the Swedes during the 1618-48 Thirty Years War. Reconstruction followed in the 18th and 19th centuries which beautifully preserved the original decoration of engravings, plasterwork and of course the windows and portals.
Petrin Tower, with its distinctive resemblance to France's Eiffel Tower, was completed in 1891 after a two year collection by the people throughout the whole country to finance it. They had seen an article on how perfect a tower at Petrin could be and so they were very motivated to have one. The tower climbs more than 50 meters above the ground to the two observation platforms where the views across the city are incredible. The many spiral steps leading to the top are a wonderful, safe and exciting experience especially for families.
Mirror Maze, which is also at Petrin, has had an interesting life. it was originally designed for the famous Prague Jubilee Exhibition of 1891 which took place at the Prague Vystaviste but after just two years it was decided that it would look better on Petrin Hill. So with great care it was disassembled and taken to the place on Petrin where it stands to this day. In the early years it was famous for its wonderful recreation of the Swedes trying to capture Charles Bridge in 1648. This installation still remains but the real excitement and wonder of the Mirror Maze is the fantastic hall of mirrors which will distort your appearance in so many funny ways that it will be impossible to stop laughing.
St. Nicholas Church
St Nicholas Church dating back to the 13th century when a gothic church occupied this spot St Nicholas Cathedral is now resplendent in its early 18th centurybaroque design complemented with magnificent sculptures the work of the great Antonin Braun. While the interior is arresting with its brilliant frescoes and stucco decoration, it is the tower which is particularly interesting. It has served as a belfry and a watchttower down the generations and even as afire lookout. The unfortunate guard up there in his windy eyrie was obliged to keep a lantern burning by night as well as hang a red flag from the appropriate window to indicate from what direction a serious fire might be threatening. Today for a small fee it is possible to take the long climb to the top and admire the amazing view.
Old Town City Hall
Old Town City Hall, which goes back almost 700 years has a wonderful and very popular tower. The people at the top of it can be seen perfectly by those standing in the square although they are up so high that waving at them is best. From the top one immediately gets a great understanding of the layout of the Old Town Square and all that went on within it over the centuries. The demonstration, the rallys, the markets, the celebrations, and maybe also the execution of twenty seven revolutionaries directly below them in 1621. Tickets for the ten minute climb to the top can be bought at the information desk in the vestibule of the Old Town Hall.
The Powder Tower
The Powder Tower is that old distinguished tower standing in the midst of so much modernity on the edge of Na Prikope St and Namesti Republiky in downtown Prague. It was from here that the long journey to coronation of kings and princes would begin on the way to the Castle. In its time it served as a major fortification point of the city as well as a storage location for arms and gunpowder, hence its name. Today there is no gunpowder to found here but visitors are welcome to enter it and discover the great personalities of the past like Jan Zizka he of the shot out eye, and the immortal Jan Hus being burnt at the stake. There are also continuous exhibitions of armoury and old time historical weapons, uniforms and costumes.
The Old Town Bridge Tower
The Old Town Bridge Tower is forever associated with the great Petr Parler and the High Gothic architectural era during which he lived. As Charles Bridge was being laid out from 1348 onwards so too was it, hence it dates back to the very beginning. Although heavily damaged at times throughout the centuries on account of wars and fires and floods a visit to it today can still evoke a feeling of its former glory. It is in fact set out on two floors both of which are viewable. The first floor functioned as a guardhouse while the upper floor which gives access to a view right down the length of Charles Bridge served for many generations as jail.
Old Town Hall Tower
guard of honor
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it" - Yogi Berra