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The Powder Tower, Prague, Czech Republic

The Powder Tower is a one of the original medieval gates to the Old Town built by Matej Rejsek in the Gothic style in 1475. In the 18th century, it served as a gunpowder depot, giving it its current name. In the late 19th century, it was rebuilt by J. Mocker, and it remains one of Prague’s most important medieval monuments.

Royal coronation processions used to commence here at the Powder Tower, a route that can be recreated by following the Royal Way, which starts on Nám?stí Republiky just beyond the tower gate and goes all the way to the castle. It is also the beginning and end of an important route from Kutná Hora, where silver was mined for the royal coffers.

After King Charles IV established the New Town district in 1348, the fortification around Old Town was no longer of importance. Originally, the Mountain Tower (Horská brána) stood on the site of what is now the Powder Tower and was part of the walled fortifications. It fell into disrepair, and as of the mid-13th century became known as the “Shabby Tower.”

In 1475, a new symbolic tower gate was erected on the city moat (today’s Na P?íkop? Street). The tower only retained its importance until the royal seat returned from the King’s Court (Král?v dv?r – on the site of today’s Municipal House) to Prague Castle. The tower remained uncompleted until 1592, when a new entrance and spiral staircase were constructed. Its design was inspired by Petr Parlé?’s designs on the Old Town Bridge Tower.

The Powder Tower gained its current appearance during renovation in the 1880s. Above the gateway, in the direction of Celetná Street, stands a statue of George of Pod?brady together with the Jagiellon monarch Vladislav II, who were kings of Bohemia during the relevant era. On the other side of the tower, in the direction of Nám?stí Republiky, the building is adorned with statues of the great Czech monarchs Charles IV and P?emysl Otakar II.

Information courtesy of praguewelcome.cz

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