Powder Tower (Prasna Brana, Powder Gate)
Standing on the edge of the Old Town is the Powder Tower, one of the 13 original gates to the city. Its official Czech name is Prasna Brana, which translates to Powder Gate. It was originally attached to the palace, prior to the king residing at Prague Castle. As the city expanded, the gate found itself well within the city and its role as a gate became obsolete. Today the gate marks the end of the Old Town and is a popular destination for historians and sightseers.
The Powder Tower is one of the most dominant sights in Prague’s historic center. Climb the tower’s 186 steps to reach the observation platform for views across the Old Town from 144 feet (44 meters) high. Note that the steps are very steep, and it can be a difficult climb for some visitors.
While inside the gate, visit the permanent exhibition about the Prague Towers. The exhibition features photographs and history about all 13 of the original towers. Learn about the Powder Tower’s 15th-century origins, and discover how it was once part of the main thoroughfare for those traveling to the Prague Castle. Czech kings took this same route during their inauguration.
Find out why the tower was used to store gunpowder, and how this led to its name change in the 17th century.
The tower’s imposing Gothic architecture is typical of the Old Town and, as the only original gate remaining, it should not be missed. Note that there is another tower with the name Powder Tower, which is part of the Prague Castle on the other side of the river. That tower has its own history and was not part of the old city wall.
The Powder Tower is located at the edge of the Old Town and is easily reached by tram or metro. It’s open daily and there is a small fee to enter.