The 65-meter-tall (213 ft.) Powder Tower is the gateway to the medieval Royal Route, which leads through the Old Town over the Charles Bridge to the vast castle up the hill.
Until 1836, this route was used by the Bohemian Monarchs on the way to their coronation in the St. Vitus Cathedral at the Prague Castle.
The Gothic Powder Tower was built in 1475 during the reign of King Vladislav II Jagiello at the site of the eleventh-century Mountain Tower, one of Prague’s thirteen original city gates. The master builder Matouš Rejsek constructed an ornate tower based on the fourteenth-century Old Town Bridge Tower. Construction of the Powder Tower was interrupted between 1477 and 1485, when riots forced King Vladislav II to flee his palace adjoining the tower (now the site of the Municipal House).
Ever since the structure was used as a gunpowder storage space in the seventeenth century, it has been known as the ‘Powder’ Tower. Another, less famous tower that also bears the name Powder Tower can be found at the Prague Castle; it was once the workshop of alchemists who tried to turn lead into gold.
The monumental tower was severely damaged during the Prussian occupation in 1757. It was finally rebuilt between 1875 and 1886 by Josef Mocker. In the 1990s the Powder Tower, like many other historical buildings in Prague, was beautifully renovated. The tower is adorned with reliefs of coats of arms, and several statues embellish the east and west façades.
The Powder Tower (Prašná brána) is located at the edge of Old Town (Staré Město). A covered bridge connects the tower to the adjoining Municipal House (Obecní dům).