Old Town Bridge Tower - Křižovnické Square, Old Town
Křižovnické Square, Old Town
The Old Town Bridge Tower forming the entry gate from Charles Bridge to the Old Town is one of the largest and most beautiful Gothic gates of Europe and, simultaneously, an excellent mixture of functionality and top aesthetic approach. It had been the centre of the bridge defence and defence of the Old Town, as well as the centre of the visual impact of the bridge and symbol of majesty of the Czech Kingdom and Roman Empire, and a permanent symbol of connection between the royal and religious reign and the universe order. The Tower is divided symbolically into four spheres of heaven (the earthly sphere, the lunar sphere, the solar sphere, and the star sphere), which correspond to four elements according to the Aristotle’s teachings (earth, water, air, and fire) and to the medieval idea of the social arrangement (workmen, secular estate, clergy, and the ruler). The Tower had been built of sandstone blocks in the late 14th century (the construction had probably begun simultaneously with the bridge founding) by Parler’s workshop according to Peter Parler’s design. In charge of construction works was Petr’s son-in-law Michael Savoyen. The ground-floor had been finished in 1373; the carcass round 1380. After the year 1385, the leadership had been taken over by stonemason Petr called Petrlík who took care of the construction completion and decoration of the Tower. In addition to the general designers and sculptors, about one hundred stonemasons participated in construction works.