Prague Towers (10) – St. Henry’s Tower

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Top of the spire on the St. Henry tower

St. Henry’s tower is the highest standalone bellfry in Prague. It is 213 ft (65.7 m) high and you don’t have to climb it, as there is a lift inside the tower. The tower was originally built as a bellfry for the church of St. Henry (Jindřich in Czech) and St. Kunhuta in gothic style in 1472-1476.  It was built from sandstone with wooden and shale roof. The tower served as a guarding tower in 1648, when Prague was attacked by Swedish army at the end of 30 years war and it was badly damaged by it, next damage was done in 1757 by Prussian army and in 1801 big storm ruined the narrow spire.

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View to Jindřišská (Henry’s) street, direction Wenceslass Square

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From top left: National Museum at the horizon, Main Train station, small garden hidden between buildings, Prague roofs

Therefore in 1876-1879 there was a big neogothic reconstruction done by Josef Mocker. Even bigger changes were done at the beginning of the 3rd millenium (around 2001), when challenging project was realised.

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View to Prague Castle and the Old Town

Now the tower is used as a multifunctional object, there is a museum, restaurant, bar, whiskeria, small music hall. All the changes had to be done without a harm to the old building. Thus the new tower was built inside the old case, in the space of 22 ft x 28 ft (6.7 m x 8.5 m), with 12 floors (one underground), lift and stairs in the middle.

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From top left: Senovážné square, old gutter, pink building, Czech National Bank in the middle, above it is a Powder Tower

The oldest bell in the tower is Maria from 1518, the biggest is Henry from 1680, the newest is Dominik from 1850. New glockenspiel was placed in the tower attic in 2003, done by master Manoušek in cooperation with dutch bell company Royal Eijbouts.

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Original roof attic from 19 century, now used as a small concert hall

Next time we won’t climb the stairs again, we will take a lift to the hight TV tower at the horizon, as seen from St. Henry’s Tower:

Tower in Prague view

Direction Žižkov

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
10 St. Henry’s Tower

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Prague Towers (4) – St. Nicholas Church

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Tower and the Church

St. Nicholas Church in Little Town (Lesser Quatter, depends of translation of the Malá Strana) is the peak of baroque architecture in Prague and one of the best works north of the Alps. It was built in 1704-1755 by three generations of great Baroque architects – father, son and son-in-law: Kryštof Dientzenhofer, Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer and Anselmo Lurago (remember Loreta from Prague Towers (1)). The bellfry, the next tower from our serie was finished by Anselmo Lurago, and contrary to the church the tower belongs to the city, therefore the entrance is not from the church but from the side street. Originally the tower was planned to be low but then it was built high. People were afraid it will fall down but time proved that it was built with perfect architectonic and engineer work. You can recognize it was built like a copy of the tower of St. Nicholas Church in the Old Town (you can find this one at Prague Towers (1)).

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Staircase and bell

During 18-19th centuries the guards served at the bellfry, their duty was to announce fires or enemies trying to enter the town. During communistic regime there was state police observatory and listening devices. The reason was the proximity of American and Yugoslavian Embassies, and also path to Western Germany Embassy. The last records from this observatory were done at the beginning of 1990 year (after revolution in November 1989). The exposition of former observatory called “Eider duck” picturing the work of State police was opened for public in April 2010. As most of the towers of my series, this tower can be climbed up. The flourish are played from the top of it every full hour during summer.
The bellfry tower is in roccoco style and it is 243 ft (74 m) high, the view is in 148 ft (45 m) and you have to climb 215 stairs to reach the view.

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View to the Eastern side of Little Town Square

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Down there is  a Starbucks coffee

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South view to Carmelitan street and the Church of Our Lady Victorious

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Little Town Roofs

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Little Town Square again – left 2003, right 2010, the bulding of Malostranská beseda before and after renovation to its original shape with spires.

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Petřín view, 2004 and 2010, winter and summer, the building in the middle is a garden house of US embassy (see the flag?), bellow it one of the most beautiful gardens in Prague, Vrtbovská Garden

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View from St. Nicholas Bellfry to Strahov monastery and Prague Castle – partial view

The next tower is Little Quarter’s Bridge Tower as seen from St. Nicholas Tower.

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Little Quarter’s Bridge Tower

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

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