Czech name: Staroměstská radnice
Old Town Hall Tower is one of the most famous sights in Prague. At 66 meters (216 feet) tall, the tower provides stunning views of the city. It features a Gothic wonder known as The Astronomical Clock. Dating back to the 14th century, Old Town Hall Tower is full of history and sights: a must-see on any Prague sightseeing trip!
Location & How to Get There
As the name suggests, Old Town Hall Tower is connected to the Old Town Hall, an interesting maze of historical Gothic buildings. This site is located in Old Town Square, a very popular tourist area and easy to access via the metro (stop Staroměstská – line A), tram (Staroměstská – trams 2, 17, 18) and public bus (Staroměstské náměstí) systems.
Opening Hours & Entry
From January through September, the tower is open until 10 pm 7 days a week. In fact, it is one of the few Prague attractions open so late. It opens at 11 am on Monday, and at 9 am all other days of the week (Tuesday through Sunday). However, during the months of October, November, and December, the site closes at 8 pm. The entry fee ranges from 250 CZK to 500 CZK for a family, and offers a variety of options.
What to Do & What to See
One of the most striking features of the tower is the gorgeous Prague Astronomical Clock, a mechanical clock that is over 600 years old. Every hour on the hour, from 9 am to 11 pm, the twelve apostles appear. A door opens and Christ marches out ahead of his disciples, to the bell toll of the skeleton of death. Below the clock are 12 medallions with the zodiac signs, added by Josef Manes in 1865.
The tower has both a staircase and an elevator, allowing access to the top for beautiful views of Old Town Prague, including several Gothic churches and even Prague Castle on the horizon. In fact, Old Town Hall Tower is the only historical tower in Old Town accessible by wheelchair.
Inside the Old Town Hall, the walls are covered with beautiful historical artwork. An exhibition called “Old Town Hall Down the Centuries” features photographs and a detailed history of the construction and events of the site. There is also a network of Roman-style underground chambers, as well as a Gothic chapel which provides a view of the 12 Apostles of the clock.
The tower was originally built in 1338, and later joined to the home of a wealthy merchant. It was used as the seat of local government, and over the years other buildings were added: the Gothic tower and clock, a chapel, council halls, (now used for weddings), and another house.
Old Town Hall includes a Prague tourist information center, which includes info on city attractions, events, history, museums, and transportation options. Maps of Prague are also available.
When visiting Prague, be sure to include a visit to Old Town, and especially Old Town Hall Tower!