The Old Town Bridge Tower is a beautiful Gothic tower guarding one end of Charles Bridge
, and heralding entrance to the Old Town.
This blackened, aged gate was completed in 1380 and forms part of the old fortification system of Prague, built to protect the Old Town against northern invaders.
Although partially damaged by the failed attempt of marauding Swedes to occupy the Old Town in 1648, sculptures by Peter Parler (whose genius can also be seen in St. Vitus Cathedral) survive.
Climb the 138 stairs inside the tower to reach the tower gallery, for a bird's-eye view over Charles Bridge, the Vltava River, the Old Town, the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) and Prague Castle.
On the opposite side of Charles Bridge, guarding entrance to the Lesser Town, is the very similar looking Lesser Town Bridge Tower.