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Zelená brána, Zelenobranská
530 02 Pardubice

Provozovatel
Kulturní centrum Pardubice
náměstí Republiky 1
Pardubice, 530 02
IČ: 000 85 286
info@kcpardubice.cz
www.kcpardubice.cz

Zřizovatel
Statutární město Pardubice
Pernštýnské náměstí 1
530 21 Pardubice
posta@mmp.cz
www.pardubice.eu

Kontaktní osoba
Soňa Oberreiterová
tel.: (+420) 777 922 909
mazhaus@kcpardubice.cz

Green gate
Pardubice

OPENING HOURS

May and September
Tuesday – Sunday 10.00–17.00

July - August
Monday - Sunday  10.00-17.00

April – October
Saturday – Sunday 10.00–17.00

THE ENTRANCE FEE FOR EXPOSITIONS
AND TO THE SCENIC VIEW

adults 20 CZK / children 15 CZK

History

Zelená brána (Green Gate) is one of the most well known landmarks of Pardubice and together with the chateau it dominates the historic centre of the city. In fact, it consists of two objects – a gate and a tower with a height of about 60 m. Both objects are usually perceived as one and so they are also called by one name: Green Gate. 

The emergence of the Green Gate is related to the fortification of the city, however, we know very little about its origins. Pardubice became a subject city sometime between 1332–1340, but it is not probable that the stone bulwarks were built immediately at that time. The privilege to build bulwarks pertained to royal cities, and Pardubice was not one of them. The period of great development did not arrive in Pardubice until 1491, when the small and indebted dominion was bought by William of Pernstein, who added it to the previously obtained large dominion of Kunětická hora (formerly a property of the monastery of Opatovice and Sezemice). For reasons that cannot be explained here in greater detail, William of Pernstein chose Pardubice, which had been an insignificant and economically underdeveloped town until that time, as the centre of the manor estate he intended to build and also as his aristocratic residence, which was to represent one of the most influential and richest aristocratic lineages in the country at those times. William of Pernstein began to modify the structure of the town and he undoubtedly contributed to its magnificent reconstruction. Paradoxically, the intensity of construction was positively affected by the great fire of Pardubice in 1507. The construction of a high quality fortification was also related to the transformation of the city. It is unknown whether the builders were at least in part able to utilize some of the old fortification. There is still no evidence of that.

Pernstejn's "fortified town" was protected by a surrounding clay bulwark, on the top of which a stone wall was situated, finished with stands for defenders. The bulwark had the form of a semicircle of promontories (roundels) at the corners of the circumference of the town, where cannons were probably situated. Bastions protruded from several places of the wall for the purpose of a stronger possibility of defence. The fortification was reinforced at the foot of the bulwark by another, lower, strip of walls with a water moat in front of them leading from the west to the south (today it is the avenue Jahnova třída and the Republic Square); the river Chrudimka flowed around its eastern side and the northern part of the town was protected by the castle (chateau) and the Elbe river. 

One could only enter the town through two gates, the present-day Green Gate and the White Gate, which was situated on Sv. Anežky České Street. It was demolished around the middle of the 19th century. What is left of it nowadays is just an inconspicuous bronze memorial plaque in the place that it used to be. We do not know exactly what the appearance of the original Green Gate was after the reconstruction of the town carried out by William of Pernstein (+ 1521). It was probably a much lower construction, perhaps with just two floors; it probably had a pyramid roof and some fore-gate. It was not called Green Gate yet, but the "Prague Gate", as the path from it led through the "long" or "Prague" suburbs, i.e. the present-day Třída Míru (Peace Avenue) in the direction of the town of Přelouč and further through the city of Kutná Hora to Prague.  

In 1538, Pardubice was affected by another destructive fire – it is said that only seven houses were left undamaged. The son of William, called John of Pernstein, initiated a new magnificent reconstruction of the town, this time in the style of Modern Renaissance. Until 1542, when the reconstruction of Pardubice was about to be completed, the Prague Gate had also undergone a transformation. Its new appearance was captured in 1602 on the oldest preserved illustration of Pardubice by the engraver Jan Willenberg. The one-floor gate was topped off by an attic with Early Renaissance arcs typical of Pardubice. Behind it, a high tower was built at that time (probably based on the original gate from the time of William of Pernstein). John of Pernstein assigned the task of the construction to the builder Jiřík Olomoucký, who had the tower decorated by an impressively indented roof with 8 little towers and a high pyramid with gold-plated poppy heads, flags and a sun in the middle. The roof was covered by a copper sheet, the golden shine of which was seen from a distance and which allegedly led to the saying "it shines like the Pardubice tower". However, the roof turned green after some time due to oxidation and that is why people started to call the tower "Green Tower". 

A gate of any castle or a gate of any town has always represented a neuralgic point of defence. That is why the fortification of gates always used to be reinforced by various fore-gates or barbicans. We can partly see what the barbican of Pardubice looked like on the above-mentioned illustration by Willenberg from 1602. In front of the gate there was a dry moat with a drawbridge and the path, lined by the town walls from both sides and deliberately curved, led through an additional two gates, before it got to the bridge over the water moat, which separated the town within the town walls from the suburbs. This fore-gate definitively disappeared together with a greater part of the town fortification after 1776. Barracks for mounted soldiers were built in its place instead (and especially horse stables). These barracks and stables disappeared at the end of the 19th century and only after 1910, the water moat was filled by earth and covered. People started to incorrectly call the gate of the tower "fore-gate", but the common visitor perceived both objects as just one "Green Gate".             

Let’s get back to the function of the Green Gate! Night watchers stood their watch on the stands of the gate to watch over the safety of the city and for a certain time (until the Thirty Year War) trumpeters also used to stand there, who performed their music to entertain the townspeople. The most favourite trumpeters were able to gain a fortune for their music. Also, the time used to be announced from the tower, especially the "police hour", when the pubs had to be closed: already at 8 o'clock p.m. in the time of William of Pernstein (!). In the 18th century, songs were heard from the tower at the end of the day to celebrate St. Florian, protector against fire, or - for some time – to celebrate the town patron, the first Prague archbishop Arnošt of Pardubice. 

The tower faced many difficult challenges. In 1653, the belfry near the gate was burnt by fire and the town council decided to place the bells in the tower, so one could hear the sound of bells from the tower from that moment on. Unfortunately, the bells did not have a positive effect on the static condition of the tower. After one May storm in 1661, a town clerk stated in one protocol that "the Green Tower was damaged by the great storm". After 12 years, the bells had to be moved from the tower to the newly repaired belfry and repairs of the tower deducted a great amount from the town budget for several years following. A clock appeared on the tower after 1760 for the first time. Representatives of the town decided to carry out an extensive renovation to the appearance of the tower in 1843. The wooden stands were removed and the tower was newly plastered. In 1875, the town council even decided to demolish the entire Green Gate for the purpose of better transport accessibility to the square, but it never happened due to great resistance from the public and from the central Viennese monument committee. Fortunately, neither the proposals prepared by the architect J. Mocker for a significant reconstruction of the tower nor the demolition of at least the gate were successful either. In 1886, "only" small changes were made by the architect Fr. Schmoranz. A larger repair of the roof had to be realized in 1902 and a year later, the gate was repaired and a relief with an illustration of the myth about the origin of the emblem of Pardubice (Ješek of Pardubice in Milano in 1158) has been shining on the front wall of the gate ever since. It was made by the sculptor B. Vlček according to a drawing by Mikoláš Aleš. The present-day appearance of the Green Gate is essentially the result of its modification in 1912, which included the renovation of the wooden stands, removal of the plaster from the surface of the tower, the placement of a wooden tile pavement in the passage way and illumination of the clock at night. Later, other partial construction interventions were made during reconstructions of the neighbouring buildings. The Green Gate underwent many other repairs after that, including another roof repair in 1980. 

The clock on the tower of the Green Gate still measures the eternal transience of time. And the impressive architecture of this historical monument is still a pride of the town of Pardubice and holds a mirror to contemporary visitors. Visitors can enjoy an interesting view of the "old" and "new" Pardubice from the stands of the tower. Perhaps the more perceptive of them will be compelled by the "genius loci" to ponder over the relationship between the past, the present and the future.

Permanent
exhibition

Dear Visitors, 
When climbing to the top of the Green Gate, you can see the newly opened historical expositions designed especially for children. The installation called Chronicle of the Town of Pardubice already has five parts.  In a pleasant and simple manner, it introduces the myths related to the origin of the emblem of Pardubice and the lords of Pernstejn, and it leads you into the historical interiors, where you can meet the town chronicler, trumpeter and tower clock caretaker during their everyday work. The expositions come from the fairy tale workshop of the fine artist and children’s illustrations painter Vítězslava Klimtová. The mobile figures, draw-gate, sound and light set pieces together with an enchanting atmosphere of the historical tower help the visitors to take their minds off the things from the 21st century and to immerse themselves in the distant past.


Clockmaker

The clock appeared on the tower after 1760 for the first time. It was moved there from the former town hall. The second clock of Pardubice was situated in the chateau. These clocks are still maintained and cared for by a clockmaker.


Trumpeter

The stands of the Green Gate played a very important role in the life of the old town of Pardubice. It was there where the trumpeter, night watcher, "counted" time for citizens of the town. The stands of the tower now offer a beautiful view of both the "old" and "new" Pardubice and of the distant surroundings. You can see the premises of the chateau behind the Church of St. Bartholomew between the trees on the bulwarks. The town ended there in the past. In the west there is the Peace Avenue (Zelené předměstí then) and the Republic Square (náměstí Republiky), where horse stables were situated in the 18th century, which were later, in the 19th century, moved to where the present-day AFI Palace is located. You can see the Východočeské Theatre on the left, the entire "old" town in the east and you can also see the automatic mills built by the famous Czech architect Gočár. The Orlické Mountains can be seen from there as well and even the Krkonoše Mountains, when the sky is clear.


Chronicler

Even you can become a chronicler of this town for a moment, if you write a message for future generations into the hardback chronicle.


The myth about the origin of the emblem of Pardubice

When climbing the stairs of the tower, you will find yourself in the middle of the battle for Milano. You will hear the noise of the battle and you will see the city, which is being conquered by brave Czech fighters. Everyone can see with their own eyes what happened with the falling iron gate and with the half a horse, which the brave fighter Ješek carried to the Czech military camp to place it in front of his king Vladislav. The king rewarded him with an emblem, which shows a front half of a white horse with his left leg lifted and with a golden rein on a red background. This emblem is the town symbol of Pardubice even today. 

And what does the myth tell us?

When the auxiliary Czech troops camped in front of the Italian city of Milano, in the period of the reign of king Vladislav II, several brave soldiers from the Czech encampment secretly snuck into the city. They took a lot of loot and they hurried on horses stolen from the city stables out of the city, so that the citizens of Milano did not see them, did not capture them and did not punish them. Unfortunately, just when they were approaching the open gate leading out of the city, the citizens of Milano noticed them. They called out to the guard to lower the heavy bars of the gate to block their way. The city guard cut the rope of the bar gate and the heavy iron bars fell on the horse, on which the last one of the Czech fighters called Ješek was riding. But Ješek did not lose his head. He took the first half of the horse and the loot on his chest and he managed to run back to the Czech encampment. There he showed himself to the king Vladislav II. The king and everyone around were amazed. The king then rewarded Ješek for this courageous deed with an emblem, which has a front half of a white horse with his left leg lifted and with a golden rein on a red background. When the Czech fighters returned from the humiliated Milano to their country with great glory, the brave Ješek received a part of land from the king in the Prácheňský region. And this is how the emblem of a half of a white horse got to Pardubice.


Myth about the origin of the emblem of the Pernstejn lineage

Before you begin to climb up the wooden stairs, you will meet a furious European bison, which can only be tamed by the brave charcoal-burner Vaněk. And what is the origin of the emblem, which you can see on many monuments in Pardubice?

The father of the Pernstejn lineage was called Vaněk – Věňava (= withy) and he came from the coalmaker settlement Ujčov situated near the present-day South-Moravian castle Pernstejn. According to the myth, a wild bison was wandering in the woods around the Zubštejn castle in 564. This bison caused a lot of damage and it had even killed several people. The Zubštejn castle was the residence of the Moravian margrave Jošt Vilibald Brandenburg, who declared that he would give a large reward to anyone who killed the bison. The coalmaker Vaněk had also met the bison in the woods several times, but he had always managed to escape. One day when Vaněk was running away from the bison, he hid in his cottage, but the bison still kept attacking. Vaněk did not know what to do, so he tried to feed the bison bread. The bison calmed down after a while. Afterwards, any time Vaněk met the bison in the woods, he gave it some bread and the animal got so used to him that it became completely tame. Vaněk put a withy from twigs through the nostrils of the tamed bison and he led the animal to Zubštejn to the margrave. The lord rewarded Vaněk greatly, he gave him land of such a size, that it took the coalmaker all day, from sunrise to sunset, to walk around it. In memory of the brave coalmaker Vaněk, his descendants had the right to use a bison head with a withy in its nostrils as the emblem of their lineage. The withy symbolised cleverness and courage, which wins over brute force. The persistence of the coalmaker Vaněk then gave rise to the motto of the Pernstejn lineage: "He who persists is victorious".

Exhibitions


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