Lesser Town Bridge Towers
On the Lesser Town riverbank the Charles bridge ends with two towers dating back to different times. The smaller one of them was erected in the Romanesque style. It formed a part of the Judith Bridge which was Prague’s first stone bridge built in the second half of the 12th century, but the tower’s origin dates back to the second quarter of the 12th century. The first references to the tower date back to 1249. The construction of the higher tower dates back to the the second half of the 15th century during the reign of the King George of Poděbrady. Its appearance was inspired by the Old Town Bridge Tower on the opposite riverbank. Both towers are connected by a gate which was built here in 1411 on the site of the former gate, which was possibly Romanesque. From the beginning of the 15th century, the smaller tower, the so-called Judith Tower, was used as a jail and it retained this role for another two hundred years.
The Customs Office
The customs office was situated in the tower from 1591 to 1784. The entrance to the tower is accessible from the passageway of building no. 56, which served as the seat of headquarters of the Prague Bridge Authority and the imperial Salt Authority. In the same year in which the customhouse was established, the tower was also altered in a Renaissance style.
An important set of engravings from the middle of the 13th century have been preserved in the tower’s vaults. These reliefs depict human figures, animals and weapons, an eight-pointed star and several noble coats of arms. The higher of the towers represents the youngest part of the entire Charles Bridge. It was primarily used as a storehouse and, because of its spatial layout, it also served as a watchtower – similar to the belfry of the St. Nicholas Cathedral on the Old Town Square.
Charles Bridge Hostel is just next to the Lesser Town Bridge Towers, stay with us!