Old Town Bridge Tower
This high-gothic tower from the workshop of the distinguished master builder Petr Parléř is one of the most beautiful examples of gothic architecture in Europe. The foundations of the sandstone tower were laid at the same time as the foundations of the Charles Bridge. And its construction was completed in 1380. Old Town Bridge Tower was conceived as a defence tower, but also gained a high aesthetic value with unique sculptural decorations, and is part of the Royal Route. The western side of the Old Town Bridge Tower was heavily damaged by the Swedish bombardement at the end of the Thirty Years War.
Statues of the Old Town Bridge Tower
The tower’s eastern side is dominated by a unique portrait statue of Emperor Charles IV and King Wenceslas IV, with St. Vitus watching over them. The level above is adorned with the statues of St. Sigismund, the patron saint of Luxembourg, and St. Adalbert, the patron saint of Bohemia. At the foot of the saints, there is a statue of a lion, which looks down from the Old Town Bridge Tower. A symbolic optical phenomenon occurs every St. Vitus’ Day (15 June) when the shadow of the head of the lion falls on an escutcheon depicting an eagle below it. This symbolically affirms the link between Bohemia and Moravia. Other statues have been similarly placed, having decorations with astrological meaning lost in time. The first floor was once used a guardhouse, while the second floor served as a jail for debtors from wealthy families. Another feature worth mentioning is the mysterious statue of the so-called Tower Man from the middle of the 15th century, which stands on a column at the end of the stairway.