Old Town Bridge Tower

The Old Town Bridge Tower forms the gateway to Prague Old Town. Bohemian kings passed through its arch on their way to coronation in the St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle.

The Old Town Bridge Tower belongs amongst the most impressive Gothic building works in the world. The tower over the first bridge pillar of the Charles Bridge is in the shape of a three-level prism with castellation and a tall pyramidal roof with slate roofing. Some 138 steps lead to the tower gallery and the height of the tower is 47 metres above the bridge level.

The emperor Charles IV had the tower was built together with the bridge according to plans by Peter Parléř. The gateway to Prague Old Town was also designed as a symbolic triumphal arch through which Bohemian kings passed with their coronation procession through town on the way to their coronation in the St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle.

Construction commenced shortly after the foundation stone of the Charles Bridge was laid in 1357. The master-builder placed the tower on a bridge pillar between the first and second spans of the bridge. The building was structurally completed while Charles IV was still alive; his son Václav only had component adornments added.

The Old Town Bridge Tower suffered significant damage towards the end of the Thirty Years' War, when its west part was shelled by Swedish troops who were unsuccessfully trying to smash their way through into Old Town from Prague Castle.

Old Town Bridge Tower

 

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