The Powder Tower

Construction start / opening date: 1475 / end of XIX century (end of construction)

Original name: Powder Gate

The Powder Tower in Prague or the Powder Gate is an architectural monument of the 15th century, located on Republic Square. Nearby is the Municipal House, which today is the venue for various concerts. The tower is connected to it by a covered bridge. From the tower originates the Royal Road, which leads to Prague Castle. The square itself for tourists coming to the country becomes the beginning of exciting excursion routes.

The tower separates one from the other the historical districts of Prague – Stare Mesto and Nove Mesto.

History reference

The construction of the Powder Tower began in 1475 under King Vladislav II. It appeared on the site of another tower – Gorskaya, which performed defensive functions.

The foundation of the Powder Tower, which was designed to fulfill aesthetic functions and serve as a beautiful entrance to the city, was built at the bottom of the moat and reached a depth of nine meters. Later it was filled up to ground level. The tower was made in the Gothic style and was an adornment of the Royal Palace. Ten years later, the building lost its significance for the city, and construction stopped. In 1592, instead of an open gallery that connected the tower and the palace, a spiral staircase appeared, which visitors still use today.

At the end of the 19th century, the Powder Tower in Bohemia was restored in a pseudo-Gothic style. Its décor includes new furnishings and neo-Gothic sculptures. The work was supervised by the architect Josef Mozker. He tried to recreate the original appearance of the tower. Nevertheless, he could not avoid changes, in particular, after the reconstruction of the roof, the vault in the building became different.

External design

The Powder Tower is adorned with story-driven sculptures on the themes of Christianity and the ruling Czech kings. On the west side there is a bust of the architect Matej Reisek, the author of the tower project, and a ribbon on which his appeal to God about forgiving people who offended him and do not observe the law is placed. Here you can also find a monument to the architect Motzker.

The first floor of the Powder Gate in Prague is decorated with statues of Czech kings: Vladislav II, Jiri, Charles IV and Ottokar II. Angels fly over the statues, next to a lion with the emblem of the Old City. In the corners, you can see allegorical figures that symbolized the virtues of the rulers. The second floor is replete with decor in the form of coats of arms of lands and cities that belonged to Czech kings.

On the east side of the building there is a statue of Christ, on the west – the Virgin and Child. The facade houses sculptures of Adam and Eve, as well as Saints Peter and Paul. On the roof of the building you can find the inscriptions of tourists from different times. The oldest dates back to 1821. In the corners, the building is decorated with six-meter turrets.

Interior decoration

The interior of the Powder Tower combines Romanesque and Gothic styles. The vault is star-shaped and is the main accent of the lower level. The symbolic decorative figures inherent in the Romanesque style are adorned with consoles. The next floor has the same vaulted ceilings, but in a different shape. On them you can see the coats of arms of Prague, the Old Town, eagles – bird symbols of the historical regions of Silesia and Moravia. In the center of the vault is the letter W, with which the name of Vladislav, the Czech king, begins. Stained-glass windows in the windows are painted in the Romanesque style by artists of the 19th century. They depict symbolic subjects: a woman with a lamb, a figure playing the mandolin, a monk with a book, an angel, etc.

Powder tower for tourists

There is a photo exhibition inside the tower today. The top floor has an excellent observation deck, which is accessed by 186 steps. From it you can take unique pictures of the beginning of the Royal Route. The entrance to the Powder Tower is easy to find – a man with an ax in a red robe is standing near it. There is a place to rest on the way to the top of the tower. On the second floor there is a fake armor, you can stand in them and take beautiful photographs. You can also purchase coins and postcards featuring the Powder Tower.

The tower can be reached by metro – yellow line B to the Namesti Republiky station or by tram no. 14, 26.

The Powder Gate in the Czech Republic is the hallmark of the Czech capital. This architectural monument attracts the attention of tourists from all over the world and is a worthy decoration of the city.

Interesting Facts

  • The tower was presented to King Vladislav II as a coronation gift by the Prague City Council.
  • For some time the tower was used as a powder warehouse, after which it received the corresponding name.
  • There is a document from 1862 containing traffic data under the arch of the tower: in one hour, 2 fiacre, 6 trucks, 1 mail coach and an incredible number of pedestrians passed under it.
  • The popular tourist route across the Charles Bridge to Prague Castle and many other excursions around Prague starts from the Powder Gate.