"The Old Town Bridge Tower on one side of the Charles Bridge, was built to be "one of the most beautiful in Europe". In a city with over a "hundred towers" this was no simple task. At the same time the bridge tower was meant to serve a deeper purpose than simply beeing part of the Gothic mosaic: Charles IV and architect Petr Parler designed the tower to be a "speaking stone" full of hidden meaning and symbols which would communicate to those who could understand, those who bore the secret "keys". The code was provided by the mystical builders of the cathedrals.
Two statues of Czech patron saints, St. Vojtech (Adalbert) and St. Sigismund, look down from the tower, along with the omnipresent Czech lion under the sill, and St. Wenceslas´s coat-of-arms with its characteristic eagle- Vojtech holds a bishop´s staff in his right hand, and in the left, a book, symbols of spiritual power, Sigismund wields a royal sceptre in his right hand, and an apple in the left, symbols of earthly rule.
One of the most interesting motifs is hidden under the roof of the side of the tower, an inscription, written without spacing between individual words.
Remarkably the inscription reads exactly the same when read from right to left:
"REVEAL YOURSELF IN THE FORM OF A SIGN (IN THE SKY), IN VAIN YOU REACH FOR ME, I AM YOUR DESIRE.
ROME, THROUGH MOVEMENTS (STARS), SUDDENLY LOVE COMES TO YOU."
The highest part of the tower reveals sculptures of ruler Charles IV and his son Wenceslas IV paying homage to St. Vitus between them, St. Vitus stands above a model of the bridge.
The sund side of the tower is designed in the name of ellipse, and its window sills, arches and vaults contain elements of twenty-four hour Solar time, the twelve Houses of Zodiac, the four basic Elements, and the three fold astrological crosses and aspects.
Perhaps the most interesting element of this part of the tower is an emblem with an eagle, found below the Czech lion in the fourth field above St. Vitus. Every year the east facade witnesses an overture which can be seen from the opposite side:
One day a year, exactly at mid-day, the shadow of the lion touches the right point of the eagle emblem, the rest of time the shadow inches upward and away.
This unusual "kiss of shadow" is one of the most graceful moments among a number of esoteric elements of Middle Age Architecture in Prague.
Under the sill and near the central coat-of-arms and the Emperor´s eagle, are eight emblems of countries which formed a part of the Czech kingdom.
They rise above two signs with kingfishers, which were the symbols of Wenceslas IV.
The second level of the tower is known as the Lunar.
It begins with the two consoles of a pointed arch, which is designed in the form of a lunar cycle.
The sides of the arch are decorated with fourteen crabs, twenty eight in all, creating a cyclical whole.
Two statues at the top of the arch provide an important allegorical motif, on one side a lion with the hind leg of a lamb, on the other an eagle with a captured hare, and in the middle, a royal crown.
These motifs are important in terms of astral sphere because they refer to the midnight constellation on the day of Charles IV� birth, the 14th of May 1316, when the constellation of the Lion waned, and the constellation of the Northern Crown was at its peak.
These elements give the Old Town Bridge a character of victory, the triumphal arc of both the King´s Way, and the King´s Destiny."
text - Jiri Kuchar - "Praha esotericka"
The Petrin Tower
The Petrin View Tower was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was built by the Czech Tourist Club, which had attended the Exposition Universelle in 1889 in Paris and decided to construct a similar tower in Prague. On 16 March 1891 work began in accordance with plans by the engineers Frantisek Prasil and Julius Soucek. It was finished and formally opened on 20 August of the same year. The heart of the lookout tower is an octagonal tube structure, which contains an elevator. Two spiral staircases wind around this – one for the journey up and the other for the way down. The lookout tower has two observation decks. The upper deck is at a height of 55 metres. A funicular was also completed together with the lookout tower. In the 1960s, antennae were installed at the top of the tower for television and radio broadcasts. The lookout tower was closed to the public in 1979 because of its poor state of repair. It was not opened again until May 1991 on the occasion of the second Jubilee Exhibition.
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