Just a few steps from the Church of St. Nicholas is the Gothic-Renaissance Black Tower. It was built in the near vicinity of the church because it served as its bell tower. Three Italian builders supervised the construction, which was finished in 1577. The tower is 72.3 metres tall and has nine floors. The gallery offers a beautiful view of the historic part of the town as well as its surroundings, including the chateau of Hluboká and the Kleť Mountain on the opposite side.
The tower was built in order to protect the town against enemies and fires. It was originally called the New Tower, the Big Tower, the Parish Tower, or the Town Tower. It was given its new name in the 18th century when there was no major reconstruction and the building was decaying, so people started to call it Black.
A town tower that stands separately is not very common in the Czech Republic. Such a building element is much more common in Italy. Not even Prague has such a tower, despite being called the “city of a hundred spires“. It can only be found in Klatovy, Kolín and Hradec Králové.
The Black Tower served as the home to the guard and his family until as late as 1956. One of the guard‘s responsibilities was to raise a flag facing the place where he noticed a fire having burst out, and to swing the bell. It was certainly not easy to provide food for the guard‘s household, which was seated above the gallery. The only commodity they probably never ran out of was milk. A goat lived together with the guard‘s family upstairs.
After climbing 225 steps you will be rewarded with a beautiful view and the friendly smiles of the operators, who have been looking after tourists on the Black Tower for several years in order to make them feel at home.
Interesting technical data about the Black Tower
total height: 72,3 m height up to the gallery: 45,7 m ground plan - a square with: a side of 11.1 m (at foundations) thickest part of the wall: 3,1 m number of stairs: 225 construction: 1549 - 1577 architects (chronological order): Hans Spatz, Lorenz, Vincent Vogarell the clock machine: installed in 1892, fa Ludwig Hainz, Prague