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Powder Tower (Prašná brána)

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Powder Tower

The Powder Tower (Czech: Prašná brána, literally "Powder Gate") is a Gothic tower in Prague, Czech Republic and one of the old city gates. It is one of the symbols of Prague, leading into the Old Town.

Dating from 1475, the Powder Tower was built as one of 13 gates to the city of Prague. When construction began, it was connected (via the small bridge at the right of the photo) to the royal palace. Before construction was completed, however, King Vladislav Jagellonský moved his residence to Prague Castle in 1485. Nevertheless, the Powder Tower remained important to the Bohemian kings - until 1836, the Bohemian monarchs would pass through the Powder Tower on their way to St. Vitus Cathedral for their coronation.

As the city grew beyond its old walls, the Powder Tower grew less and less important (except on those rare occasions when a new king was was being crowned). By the 17th century, it was being used as a gunpowder storage facility - it was at this time that it developed its name. The tower was severely damaged in 1757 when Prague was occupied by the Prussians, but was eventually restored to its former glory in the 1870s and 1880s.

The Powder Tower was designed by master builder Matěj Rejsek based on plans by Peter Parler for the Old Town Bridge Tower at the foot of Charles Bridge. It is now one of the few remnants of the fortifications that once surrounded the city.

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