Standing on one of the bridges before the Charles Bridge or sailing on the Vltava River, you’ll definitely notice Old Town Water Tower (Staromestska vodarna) on the right bank of the river on the place called Novotny Footbridge (Novetneho lavka). Old Town Water Tower used to supply the Old Town’s fountains with water, even though it had to ‘struggle for its existence’ several times during its long history.
The first records about the tower (originally made of wood) date back to the beginning of the 15th century. As the workers in the tower used to use open fire to melt frozen water in the pipes during winter, the tower has been damaged by fire many times. But fire was not the only element the tower had to fight against. The others were floods and icebergs as well as attacks by foreign intruders.
Its current look comes from 1577, or more precisely in 1878 when the tower got another floor and the tower clock. Ten years later a new neo-Gothic roof was added. The tower served its purpose until 1880.
The neighbouring white water house used to contain a device that pumped water to the water tower. It was used from 1883 until 1913. Its facade is decorated by black-and-white sgraffitoes depicting the defence of the Old Prague against Swedish troops in 1868.
A large reconstruction of the house at the beginning of the 20th century was made for the Bedrich Smetana Museum. The museum was open on 12th May 1936, now it’s part of the National Museum.
Novotneho lavka, Prague 1
How to get there:
Novotneho lavka is in a walking distance from metro station Malostranska (along Krizovnicka street). If you don’t feel like walking, take tram no. 17 or 18 (stop Karlovy lazne).
For more pictures see Old Town Water Tower Photo Gallery