Powder Tower, Prague, Czech Republic
The so called Powder Tower (Prašná brána), also known as the Powder Gates, is one of the most unique and beautiful buildings in Prague - one of the symbols of the city. It is situated on the Republic Square.
The construction of the tower was long and hard. It started in 1475 on the site of an old ruined tower. Architect of the tower was Matej Rejsek and the main builder - renowned master Waclaw. This tower was supposed to rise above the one of the 13 entrances to the old city of Prague, but because of the instability in the country, the project of creating 13 city gates was not finished. The construction of the Powder Tower was not completed either. Only a century later, the tower was covered with a temporary roof in order to serve as a warehouse for gunpowder. This is why the tower is called Powder Tower. In 1757 the tower was severely damaged in the result of the siege by the Prussian army. Because of the damage architectural ornaments were removed from the tower, as they fell on to the passersby, causing them injuries. In the 19th century the tower was restored twice. During the second renovation in the 19th century - in 1878, it was decided to restore the tower in its initial view. For this purpose, the city administration invited famous architect Josef Mocker.
Mocker decided to remove from the tower all the non-initial ornaments and later additions, including the big clock of the facade. The tower was restored in pseudo-gothic style. Mocker and the best sculptors and builders of the time, working on the tower, decorated the building with pseudo-gothic sculptures of Christian characters and saints. On the walls of the tower, you can also see statues of Czech kings and in the passage under the tower – the bust of the Tower’s architect - Matej Rejsek. Despite the Mocker’s efforts to recreate the original look of the Powder Tower, he had to make some changes: for example it was decided to change the shape of the roof.
Today this black Gothic tower looks impressive. Inside of it also the atmosphere is Gothic. The interiors feature vaulted ceilings, walls made from dark stone and stained glass windows. Since 2007 the building hosts the "Royal Court" collection, which depicts medieval Prague. It also hosts different photo exhibitions.
The tower’s height is 65 meters. On the second floor of the tower at a height of 44 meters an observation deck is located. To get to the observation deck you need to climb a long spiral staircase. The Tower offers surrounding panorama of Prague.
By Anna Pambukhchyan, www.building.am