The Old Town Bridge Tower is one of the most impressive Gothic structures in the world. Along with the bridge, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV had it built according to the design of Peter Parler. The entrance gate leading to the Old Town of Prague was conceived as a symbolic triumphal arch, through which Bohemian kings walked on their coronation procession to St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle.
The construction began soon after the laying of the foundation stone for Charles Bridge in 1357. The builder placed the tower on a pier between the first and second bridge spans. The building was finished during Charles IV’s lifetime. His son Wenceslas added only partial decoration.
The tower witnessed several historic events. At the end of the Thirty Years’ War, the towns of Prague on the right bank repelled the Swedish army in 1648. However, the Swedish bombarding caused severe damage to the unique Gothic decoration of the Old Town Bridge Tower’s western side.