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Lesser Town – Bridge Towers

The Old Town Bridge Tower

The Old Town Bridge Tower was first commissioned under the reign of Charles IV as a part of the city’s defenses.  Today, it is regarded as one of the most beautiful medieval towers in the city.  In fact, it was designed by one of Prague’s most renowned architects who also worked on the Cathedral of St. Vitus at Prague Castle, Petr Parler.  The tower also includes numerous sculptures including works depicting Charles IV, Wenceslas IV as well as the patron saints of the Czech lands.  The tower itself is divided into four spheres with both, earth and moon.  In fact, the moon is decorated with twenty-eight crabs representing the twenty-eight day cycle of the moon.  The third sphere is the sun’s sphere representing royal and imperial night and the forth is the celestial sphere.  The western side of the tower is the plainest of all four and was subjected to numerous attacks.  For a while, the tower was used as a debtor’s prison where the prisoner’s graffiti can still be seen on the walls.  Visitor can climb the steps inside to see the stunning sights of the city and Prague Castle.

 

The Lesser Town Bridge Tower

The Minor Town side of the bridge is marked by two towers which have never been decorated.  The smallest of the two is part of the remnants of the old Judith Bridge and was once part of the city’s defense system.  The larger of the two towers dates back to 1464.  Inside the towers, there are rare Romanesque reliefs as well as other symbols relating to the reign of Wenceslas IV.  There is one legend that surrounds the tower that concerns a spot where there is a stone missing.  Legend has it that when a raven sat on it, it fell falling onto the head of King Wenceslas’s favorite knight who was killed.  The knight was said to have been very courageous and survived many battles without a scratch only to die by having a stone fall on him.  In order to honor his knight’s legacy, it is said that the king never had the stone replaced.

 

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Petřín Hill

Only a stone throw away from the Prague Castle is Petřín Hill; perfect for a summer walk away from the bustle of tourists. Part of the land is set aside for an apple and a pear orchard from which the fruit can be freely picked from the trees. Much of the stone sed in building the major sights in Prague was quarried out of Petrin, however today this is not noticeable beneath the trees and gardens.