Friday, October 7, 2011

The highest belfry in Prague...any guesses?

Just when I thought I've been to every historical monument in Prague, I stumble upon one that I somehow overlooked.  How does one overlook the highest belfry in Prague?!?

Gothic Jindřišska věž is located on Jindřišskou street, which has connected three Prague squares since the 14th-century - Wenceslas, Charles and Senovážné.  

The tower itself was built during the years 1472-1475 next to the Church of St. Henry and Cunigunde...the clock was added in 1577.  There are many bells in the tower, but the oldest and most famed one is named Maria (made in 1518) and weighs 723kg.  She's preserved to this day and can be seen in the tower's restaurant.  Every day at 9 am, 12 noon, 3 pm and 6 pm, you will hear the bells play (not the original bells) one of 1,152 melodies.

Zvonice restaurant occupies the 7th, 8th and 9th floors and is adorned with original wood from the belfry, original brick walls, gothic windows, as well as the bell Maria.  

The 10th floor is the bell tower itself, one that feels like a specious old attic with spectacular views of Prague Castle and the city center.  And for those of you who avoid such towers due to their abundance of stairs, you'll be glad to know that Jindřišska has an elevator!  Pass it up though...because if you don't you'll miss one of the most unique things about the tower - a  new tower was built inside the shell of the old one.  When you step inside, you'll find yourself in a tower within a tower!  You can see the inside of the old shell in some places along the staircase, if you walk, that is.

Beautiful views from the tower...

View of The Church of Our Lady before Týn

View of Senovážné Square

Don't skip the 1st floor though.  It may seem like a simple café, and surely coffee is good, but coffee with a side of cognac is even better!  This café is also where you'll find a most comprehensive collection of single malt Scotch whiskey, and a large selection of cognacs, rums, wines and cigars.  But shhh...don't tell anyone, it's not touristy and we like it that way.

And just how high is the tower?  67.7 meters to be exact.

Getting here:

Jindřišska is walking distance from Wenceslas Square, but you can also get there via metro (A or B line to Mustek, or C line to Muzuem.  Via tram, take either the 3, 9, 14 or 24 to Jindřišska.