Top monuments - Old Town Bridge Tower
One of the best examples of High Gothic architecture in all of Europe, the Old Town Bridge Tower forms the gate entrance to Charles Bridge from Old Town on the east side of the Vltava. The tower was completed in 1380 by the workshop of master builder Petr Parléř, who also designed St. Vitus Cathedral up at Prague Castle, and the foundations of the sandstone tower were laid together with the first stones of Charles Bridge.
While the tower was originally built as a bastion for defense, its high aesthetic value and unique sculptural decorations, including multiple statues and reliefs, make it an important part of the Royal Way. The western wall of the tower was heavily damaged by Swedish cannon fire at the end of the Thirty Years War. The tower’s eastern wall is dominated by a portrait statue of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and King Wenceslas IV, with St. Vitus watching over them.
The floor below has statues of St. Sigismund, the patron saint of Luxembourg, and St. Adalbert, the patron saint of Bohemia, with a lion sitting at their feet. A symbolic apparition occurs on St. Vitus Day (15 June), when the shadow of the lion’s head falls on a shield below it, which depicts an eagle, symbolically affirming the link between the lands of Bohemia and Moravia.
Other statues have been similarly placed whose number and amount of decorative elements have a hidden meaning connected with astrology. The first floor used to contain a guardhouse, while the second floor served as a jail for debtors from wealthy families. Another feature worth mentioning is the statue of the so-called Tower Man from the middle of the 15th century, which stands on a column at the end of the stairway.
Prague 1 - Old Town
Tel. 224 220 569
October, March 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily
November - February 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily
April - September 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily
Full admisssion 90 Kč; discount 65 Kč