The Powder Tower (Prasna brana)
The poet T. Chateaubriand wrote about Prague: “The petrified heart of the Czech nation; each tower, each corner stone bears witness to its fate, pain, darkness, greatness.”
This ancient tower has a long history. It is one of the most important buildings of the Old Town. A similar tower stood in its place already in the 13th century. It was built by the one-eyed king Vaclav I as one of a total of 13 gates to the city. At that time it was called “The Mountain Gate” (Horska) because here ended an important road from Kutna Hora- from the silver mines. The tower was also important because the Czech kings entered through it on their way to the castle and to their coronation in the St.Vitus Cathedral.
For many years thereafter the Tower was neglected and kept falling apart. It was finally renovated during the reign of Vladislav II. who started its reconstruction in 147 5 The work was paid for by the citizens of the Old Town. The tower bears the inscription: “ To the honor and fame of the people of this city.”
The entrance to the Tower received some restoration in 1592 by the mayor of Old Town Mr. Vaclav Krocin
The Tower got its present name, ( Powder Tower) by the end of the 17th century because by then it was used to store gunpowder. In subsequent wars it was greatly damaged t by gun fire. Instead of repairing the damaged parts and decorations, the latter were simply removed. In the first half of the 19th century a clock was installed in its front façade.
Its last restoration took place in the 1990’s. The portrait of its last architect Matej Rejsek can be seen on the wall of the Municipal House nearby
If you happen to walk late at nigh along Celetna st. make sure that you do not run into a ghost He carries his head under his arm, and has only one leg and one hand. It is the spiritist Ulrych who summoned lots of ghosts from the underworld , but was subsequently unable to control them and thus they tore him apart.Jana Volfová
Translated by Marie Dolanska
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