We were beginning to understand that there were a lot of towers in Prague.
Having been up the Old Town Hall Tower, we were on our way to the Petřín Observation Tower. However, as we passed underneath a fortification guarding the famous Charles Bridge I spotted an innocent looking door out of the corner of my eye. It was inconspicuous, yet there was something about it.
“Oh look!” I said. “Another tower!”
My wife and daughter gave a collective groan.
This was the Old Town Bridge Tower, built in the second half of the 14th Century. Construction started in the late 1360’s and took some 20 years to complete. The tower was concieved as a triumphal arch, through which the Bohemian Kings of the time could pass during their coronation processions to St Vitus’ Cathedral at Prague Castle. However, its primary use turned out to be one of fortification.
The tower saw its fair share of action. In 1611 it was attacked and damaged by an army led by the Bishop of Passau in a small but popular uprising which was one of the precursors to the Thirty Years’ War. In 1648, towards the end of that war, it was attacked once again, this time by a Swedish army. The town held out and repelled the attack, although the tower sustained damage. Its last significant action was during the revolution of 1848 when rebels built a barricade in the tower’s entrance, but this was bombed by an Austrian army on the opposite bank of the Vltava. Major reconstruction was required between 1874 and 1878.
The tower stands 47 metres (154 feet) above street level and its balcony is reached by 138 stone steps. It provides great views across Charles Bridge. And look! There are two more towers in the distance: the Petřín Observation Tower at 10 o’clock and St Vitus’ Cathedral at 1 o’clock (Prague, you see, really does have a lot of towers).
We didn’t spend long at the Old Town Bridge Tower and headed across the Charles Bridge itself. As we got to the other end we passed under a smaller, but similar structure. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a doorway. It was inconspicuous and I do not know what it was that made me stop to look at it.
But I never got to finish my sentence. The look from my wife and daughter cut me dead midflow. I swallowed, smiled, and walked on. The world beyond the Lesser Town Bridge Tower was beckoning. The tower itself would have to wait until our next trip to the city.
Points in this post (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Old Town Bridge Tower: N 50° 05.169 E 014° 24.813
- Petřín Observation Tower: N 50° 05.009 E 014° 23.713
- St Vitus’ Cathedral Tower: N 50° 05.437 E 014° 24.010
- Lesser Town Bridge Tower: N 50° 05.238 E 014° 24.408
- Date of Visit: 16 December 2014
- Walk total distance covered: 6.90 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!