Prague Towers (9) – Powder Tower

Powder Tower – in Czech we call it Prašná brána (= Powder Gate) – stands at the entrance to the Prague Old Town, next to the famouse Art Nouveau Municipal house.

Powder tower Prague

Powder Tower viewed from the New Town, from the Old Town and the statue of its architect Matěj Rejsek

There also starts so called Royal Road because King’s corronation parade started here. Formerly, the Royal Palace was at the place where you find Municipal House in 14-15 centuries. King preferred to live in the city center more than in the Prague Castle. Therefore, the Old Town Municipality decided to build here a new tower in 1475 to show the safety of the Old Town and to have an opposite to the imposing Old Town Bridge Tower on the other side of the town. They named the tower New, its bases were 30 ft (9 m) bellow the current level of the ground and it was 138 ft (42 m) high. The architect was Matyáš Rejsek, now you can see his status looking at the tower from the corner of Municipal House. Unfortunatelly for the tower, due to the riots on the streets king Vladislaus II Jagiellon found out that it would be much safer to live in Prague Castle and he left the Royal Palace. As a result you can find beautiful Jagiellonian Hall at Prague Castle. The architect left as well, Matyáš Rejsek went to Kutná Hora and he built there a beautiful gothic cathedral of St. Barbora.

Powder Tower in Prague

Interiers, stairs and stained glass windows, specially impressive when sun shines

Thus, the tower at the Old Town was not finished and it was used as the warehouse of the gun powder and got its current name Powder Gate. In 18th century it was badly destroyed by prussian army and lost its beautiful decorations. Today’s appearance it received in 1878-1886 in pseudogothic puristic recontruction done by Josef Mocker (as St. Vitus Cathedral, Karlštejn and a lot of other gothic buildings in Prague and its surrounding). Old Town Tower bridge was again used as the source for the decoration style and the tower received new “boaster” tower so typical for Mocker’s reconstruction.

Power tower Prague

Views from the tower, direction Prague Castle, roofs of Celetna street, Golden Eagle roof with pigeons, roofs of Municipal house

Tower is 213 ft (65 m) high, the view platform is in 144 ft (44 m) and you have to climb 186 stairs to reach it. In fact I consider this tower to be the most “difficult” for climbing, specially due to the narrow stairway at the bottom of it. The lowest part is the worst, when you climb up, it gets better and safer.

Municipal House in Prague

Details on the roof of Municipal house

Prague

Personal note: windows of my first office at the second floor at the top shot, bottom shot street leads to the place where I live

Our next tower is St- Henry’s Tower, highest standalone belltower in Prague, as seen from the Powder Tower:

Jindřišská věž

St. Henry tower dwarfs the roofs of Czech National Bank, out next topic for Prague Towers

The whole series to be found here

1 Introduction
2 Bell Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral
3 Petřín Watchtower
4 St. Nicholas Bellfry
5 Little Quarter’s Bridge Tower
6 Old Town’s Bridge Tower
7 Astronomical Klementinum Tower
8 Tower of the Old Town Townhall
9 Powder Tower

LOGO_PragueTowersS_KOI

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A Word A Week Challenge – Zoom

ZOOM3

Golden spires, petrified gamin and art nouveau roses

I have already written about my new ZOOM lenses in the Travel Theme: New. And I already wrote about the necessity to look up in Prague for another Travel theme: Up. For ZOOM challenge I will combine both and I will show you more pictures of Prague taken with my ZOOM. When you are in Prague, I will show you all these and even more with stories, that are behind them :-).
The last shot gallery is very special to me, these are the details from the Hotel Central. About 15 year ago the hotel was in a very bad shape, empty, with just a dirty tabacco and newspaper tobacconist’s at the ground floor. Being rich I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the building and reconstruct it. And few years later someone (not me) did it and now there is a beautiful Art nouveau hotel, in the oldest Art nouveau building in Prague (second built, unfortunatelly the first built was demolished long time ago).

Central

Heads on Municipal house and Old Town Tower Bridge detail

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Hotel Central

Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague

Every year in the beginning of Advent we are looking forward to Crafts and Pottery Markets at Prague’s Industrial Palace. It is a perfect way to buy gifts for Christmas and to enjoy hundreds and hundreds works of craftsmen from Bohemia, but also from Hungary and Slovakia. The venue of these markets is beautiful itself, as it comes from 1891 year.

Sjezdový palác (Congress Palace),craft markets traditional venue

Průmyslový palác (Industrial Palace), craft markets traditional venue

One hall of the Industrial Palace is full of stalls offering pottery, from object for everyday use as cups and plates and baking forms, to master art pieces.

Baking forms (I like the "four-in-one") and pottery apples

Baking forms (I like the “four-in-one”) and pottery apples

Art pieces and figures

Colorful buffoons, Devil's nativity scene (all the figures are small bells!), angels light holders

Colorful buffoons, Devil’s nativity scene (all the figures are small bells!), angels light holders

Animals

Seal heads for your garden, peacock plates, meerkats/suricates family

Seal heads (life size) for your garden, peacock plates, meerkats/suricates family

So now you saw lot of pottery, but we also have crafts and craftsmen working at the market. For example wood carver

Wood-carvers tools and final product - Nativity scene

Wood-carvers tools and final product – Nativity scene

Or weaver

Weavers works

Weavers works

You can also get your shoes done, by shoemaker.

Leather hand-made shoes, fits perfectly!

Leather hand-made shoes, fits perfectly!

… and even more and more – wool, tide-dyed clothes, wooden toys, farmer’s chees, wines, gingerbreads, decorations, candles and candlesticks … the post will never end if I would like to show you everything. Therefore you have to come and see on your own eyes next year. And maybe your fireplace will look as our one does – after Craft Market’s visit our small “village” displayed at fireplace was extended this year again.

Pottery village with candles in our fireplace at home

Pottery village with candles in our fireplace at home

My Post about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

Smichov – vivid Prague Quarter

Let’s talk about Prague quarter called Smíchov. It’s seated on the left bank of Vltava river, former suburb, independent city in 1903 – 1921, part of Prague from 1922. From the end of 20 century commercial and office center, residential area, living place of today’s Prague.

Park at Art Nouveau style at Square of 14th October

Let’s have a short look at Smíchov’s history, but in this post I will focus on Smíchov in 20th century in pictures.

Friday farmers market, face of today’s Smíchov

Pears and apples at Farmers Market

Cheese collection at Farmers Market

Due to Smíchov’s proximity to Lesser Town there were monasteries and their premises, vinyards, hop gardens, but also big cemetary for Lesser Town citizens. Further from the river on the hill there used to be summer boweries and gardens of Prague elite.

Small Portheimka manor

Neorenaissance basilica of St. Vaclav from 1885

The name Smíchov gives you two different hints about its origin. First: Czech word “smích” means “laugh”, other Czech word “smíchat” means “to mix”. In our case name Smíchov was first used during 14th century, when big properties were parcelled to smaller, and inhabitants from miscellaneous places were mixed to live here together.

Art Nouveau details

In 17th century rich burglars and nobels were building their summer residences, gardens and vinyards, but in 18th century Smíchov changed to be a workshop place with manufactures, factories.

Former factory, shop today

Shopping and entertaining center New Smichov

Old synagogue on the left side, new offices on right

Due to the high number of smokestacks the quarter was called Manchester. Industrial factories, brewery, that’s to be found at Smíchov in 19th-20th century, with some exceptions, like the Art Nouveau square of 14th October, with important buildings of Culture House and Market Hall, both in art nouveau style, surrounded by appartment buildings in the same style.

Covered Market Hall

Different portals in Art Nouveau

At the end of 20th century city changed together with construction of the Prague subway, former industrial buildings changed to new shopping galleries, entertainment centres and offices.

Olomouc Art Nouveau

Olomouc center at one sight

Olomouc is a city in north Moravia with about 100 000 inhabitants. Throughout centuries Olomouc fought with Brno (in South Moravia) to be the center of Moravian region in medieval ages. Despite the fact that Olomouc was mostly losing and nowadays Brno is the administrative center of Morava, there were moments of high importance for Czech kingdom history that took place in Olomouc. Like:

Assassination of Bohemian king Vaclav III in Olomouc in 1306 resulted in dying out in male tail for Premyslid dynasty, first ruling dynasty in Bohemia that were on the throne for 400 years. In 1479 there was agreed that Bohemia will have two kings – Vladislav Jagellonsky in the West and Matyas Corvin in the East, 1573 the second biggest university (after Charles university in Prague) was founded in Olomouc.

New building of Olomouc unversity

Bezruč’s gardens bellow the Old Town walls.

Today you can meet lots of students here as well as enjoy quiet narrow streets and park bellow the walls of the Old Town, specially during chilly foggy autumn days :-). For summer days there are beautiful stone fountains around the city, to refresh the air.

One of Olomouc’s landmarks is written in UNESCO World Heritage List from the year 2000. It is the Holy Trinity Column, baroque monument built in 18th century as a celebration of Catholic faith and also by feeling gratitude of surviving the plague epidemic. It is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in Czech Republic.

Holy Trinity Column with Townhall at the back, Astronomical clock on the townhall can be also seen

But what I really like in Olomouc today, are the art nouveau buildings with lot of colorful details around the main square.

Gold mosaic windows

Bubble boy

Glass-metal protections from weather moods

My favorite – girl photographer, see the detail on the right

The most beutiful art nouveau sight in the city is Villa Primavesi, where Gustav Klimt came for visit and today you can find cozy restaurant with great dishes there.

Villa Primavesi Art Nouveau details

Strahov Monastery

Strahov Monastery Inner Yard

Strahov Monastery located in Strahov on Petřín‘s Hill at the gates to Hradčany – Castle Area of Prague Castle is the oldest Premonstratensian abbey founded in 1140 by Bishop Jindřich Zdík, Bishop John of Prague, and Prince Vladislav II. Pemonstratensians came there in 1142 and the remains of the order founder St. Norbert were brought to this monastery in 1627. Monastery was robbed by Swedish Army in 1648 and lot of the books and art pieces were taken.

At the end of 17th century the monastery was rebuilt in baroque style. After communistic takeover in 1948 the monastery was closed and monks were sent to working camps. In 1968 lot of remaining art pieces were taken by Soviet occupation army.

After Velvet revolution (1989) the monastery was reconstructed and serves as a monastery again. You can see there beautiful collection of gothic art, Theological and Philosophical Halls.

Theological Library

With my husband we visit this place rather often, mainly because of small nice brewery in the monastery yard but also due to beautiful view to Prague. Once we met a monk, who invited us also to Monastery garden that are hidden from the eyes of other visitors. It was very nice encounter and I will share some pictures from it with you.

Light in the Dome of Basilica of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, we met our monk guide here

Meeting fishes in the pond

Hidden garden

Walls of the monastery from the garden

View to Prague Castle from the Garden Walls

Vltava River and Lesser Quarter roofs

Courtyard with Brewery and Church of St. Roch

Brewery bar

Light and Dark Norbert, you can’t drink this anywhere else but in this small brewery. You can also make small excursion to the brewery.

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