The Ode to Joy was playing in the style of carillon from the timberwork above my head, when I looked at Prague in an unusual way from its midpoint. One of the highest towers in the city – Jindřišská Tower – is unique. On the top floor, at the height of 54 metres, you can enjoy a marvellous view of the city.
When going down the tower, you will pass the Museum of the Tower, the Prague Towers Museum, an exhibition area, a restaurant and a whiskey bar. The city looks just like a model!
After two year of reconstruction, the tower was re-opened on 12th December 2002. Since that day, a great number of expositions, concerts and other social events have taken place there. And there is an amazing restaurant too!
Under the bells of joy
An elevator will take you up to the gallery. This is a place where some events also take place. The bells, hung up under the roof, play 1152 melodies. For only 10 CZK, the bells can play for you, but the choice of melody is random.
The Ode to Joy is more than suitable for this place. You can view the city of Prague from the top, but also a bit from below, depending on what landmark you are looking at. From the television tower of Žižkov, through Petřín to the Prague Castle and even further. The Saint Jindřich Church and the Saint Kunhuta Church (which the bell tower belonged to) are also interesting from a bird’s eye view.
The altar picture portrays Kunhuta, a martyress defending her innocence by walking on hot ploughshares. The painless walk disproves the accusation of adultery. It is a pity that it is closed, as are most of the churches in Prague. Visitors ramble around the church without having an opportunity to only look inside. The risk of theft and vandalism is high, but it is not good to close these buildings.
The Jindřich Bell, with a weight of 3350 kilos, is the tenth-largest in the Czech Republic. It was made in 1680 and recasted in 1804. The bell was placed into the tower because it was simply too big to fit in the church tower.
Jindřišská tower was built along the lines of Italian campanillas in the years 1474 to 1476. The church and its bell tower were owned by the Knight of the Cross with the Red Star. There was a plague cemetery near the church. At the end of the Thirty Years’ War, it was used as a guard tower, but it was damaged by the Swedish in 1648. More damage was brought by the Prussian siege in 1757. In 1801, there was a strong wind in the city and it broke the narrow roof.
Prague Towers Museum
On the 6th floor, there is an interesting museum of Prague towers. On the floor, there is a carpet with a map of Prague and there are pictures of 120 Prague towers projected on a screen. From gothic ones to modern ones, it is a well-created exposition supplemented by written information and paper models of Prague towers. In the next floor, there is a nativity scene from Třešť shown. This is the place where expositions change; the next exposition is a Museum of the Tower.
In the Zvonice Restaurant, from the 7th to the 9th floor, you can see the original Svatá Maria Bell, reconstructed by the most famous Czech bell founder – Petr Manoušek.
Before the reconstruction began, it had been just an empty white building; a bare case. The demanding reconstruction done by Jindřišská a. s., under the control of preservationists, created a modern cultural object from a beautiful but unused building in the city centre.
On the ground floor, there is a souvenir shop and a very lovely café.