Facts and legends about the Bell Tower

St Vitus Cathedral at night One of the dominant of St Vitus Cathedral is the Bell Tower on the southern side. Renowned Petr Parler started to build it in 1396, his sons continued after his death until 1406. The clock has decorated the tower since 1552. Once in its history the tower was damaged by falling bells when the supporting beams, burned from the great fire of Prague Castle, collapsed. The Bell Tower is surrounded by many interesting legends.

One legend says that when the emperor Charles IV died, all the bells at the tower started to ring by themselves. At first people could hear the toll of funeral bells, finally all the bells in Prague followed.

Another legend says that a prophet said to Czech king Wenceslas IV. that he would die in front of the Bell Tower. The king was so scared that he wanted to destroy the tower. When the first floor was taken down, Prague was full of news about outbreak of the Hussites’ movement. The king was so angry about the news that he got a heart attack and died soon after that.

The Bell Tower contains Prague’s biggest bell, Zikmund, made in 1549 by Tomas Jaros who lived and worked in Mihulka Powder Tower. It’s decorated with portraits of Ferdinand I and Anna Jagellonica. It is said that nobody knew how to lift such a heavy bell to the Bell Tower. It was the daughter of the king herself who created a very effective pulley. Thanks to the pulley the bell was pulled up on the rope made of princess’s hair. When the bell was in the Bell tower, she destroyed the machine so that nobody would know the principle of it.

Bell Zikmund has another interesting legend. According to this legend, if the heart of the bell breaks, something very bad will happen in the country. It happened for the last time in 2002, just a few weeks before the catastrophic floods in the Czech Republic.

The tower is accessible to the public in good weather only, but then it offers a beautiful view of Prague.

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