Powder Tower

The Powder Tower is one of the most significant monuments of medieval Prague. It is here that the Royal Route started, and it is this place that an important road led to from Kutná Hora, where silver was mined for the royal coffers.

The late Gothic town gate was built on the site of an older tower gate connected with the Old Town fortifications from the times of the reign of Václav II. When New Town was established, the tower gate lost its importance and started to deteriorate. The erection of the current structure was most likely connected with the location of the royal seat which, from the 1370s, used to stand in close vicinity of the tower gate at the location of present-day Municipal House.

The tower gate was planned primarily as a representative symbol and a place for collecting customs duties. Its construction started in 1475; the tower gate had foundations reaching almost 9 meters below present-day ground level and was 42 meters high. However, the building remained uncompleted which was probably the reason why it was fashioned with only temporary roofing. From about 1715 the tower gate served as a gunpowder store, hence its name “the Powder Tower”.

The Powder Tower acquired its present-day appearance only during the period of 1878-1886, in the course of a pseudo-Gothic Purist refurbishment lead by the architect Josef Mocker, who had a new chisel roof with turrets and a gallery constructed, and also had an early 19th century clock removed. His refurbishment work also includes all the arches as well as the tower gate’s sculptures which supplemented the remnants of the original adornments.

Powder Tower

 

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