New Town Hall and Tower

A Brief History of the New Town Hall

Prague New Town Hall is located between Charles Square and Vodickova street in the Nove Mesto quarter. The oldest part of the town hall is its eastern wing was built in a Gothic style in 1377-1398. The main facade and the tower of the New Town Hall were constructed in the 15th century. It also has a spacious main hall, 23 meters long and with 7 meters high ceiling. In the 16th century, the New Town Hall was reconstructed in Renaissance style and got new facade shields designed by Benedict Ried. After the unification of 4 Prague quarters in 1784 during the reign of Joseph II, New Town Hall became a court and office space.

 

1st Prague Defenestration in the New Town Hall

The 1st Prague Defenestration, or the act of throwing people out of the window, took place on July 30th, 1419. After a mass in the Church of Our Lady of Snows, a preacher Jan Zelivsky and a group of his aggravated supporters stormed into the New Town Hall to demand the immediate release of their prisoners. It was a peak of religious conflict in Bohemia when rich Catholics rejected the teachings of Jan Hus, who insisted on the equality of all believers and promoted the ideas of transubstantiation for all social groups.

It is not known what exactly prompted Zelivky's people to defenestrate Prague councilors and how many of them were thrown out of the New Town Hall window. However, one thing is certain: 1st Defenestration was the bloodiest out of all, as the victims were finished off below the window by the angry crowd.

1st Prague Defenestration was a turning point in Czech religious history and was a start of the Hussite War. Jan Zelivsky, the instigator of this Prague incident, was later killed in the Prague Town Hall, but the one on the Old Town Square.

 

New Town Hall Tower

The New Town Hall Tower was built in 1452-56 and is 70 meters, with 212 steps leading to its top. Thanks to its height, the tower provided a good look-out point and was used for regular time announcements. The tower's ground floor served as a prison, while a chapel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary was the last shelter for the convicted to death. In 1599, the tower was struck by a lightning and had to be reconstructed.

 

Our Local Guide Tip

  • The tower of the New Town Hall is opened for visitors in the spring-autumn period and has a great view from its top! Check out the New Town Hall official website to learn more.

See more of our Prague Travel Tips


Author: Valeriia Zahradnikova and Vaclav Zahradnik, Prague guides certified by Prague City Tourism agency. Valeriia and Vaclav have worked in tourism for over 6 years and have guided thousands of Prague visitors.