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The Black Tower 

History of the tower in numbers

  • 16th Century


  • 1547 start of construction

  • 1557 stone construction was finished (gallery at the height of 45.5 metres)

  • 1557 truss was completed and the bell hung

  • 1579 town fire, the tower burnt down and the bell melted

  • 1581 the new truss was made

  • 1583 hanging of the new bell

  • 17th Century

  • 1615 fire in the town burns the truss of the tower

  • 1679 consecration of the bell named Ondřej Bartoloměj (better known as Vondra)

  • 1689 town fire, the truss of the tower burnt down

  • 18th Century


  • 1727 a new truss with two towers

  • 1758 fire burnt down the whole tower, the bell melted

  • 1759 a new bell was hung, consecrated with the name of Ondřej Bartolomej (Vondra)

  • 1762 new truss

  • 19th Century

  • 1810 fire burnt down the truss

  • 1811 a new truss with two towers

  • 1854 raising of the stone construction for the purpose of cleaning the clock - gallery at 48 m height

  • 1855 installation of a new clock engine and 4 black dials; a new truss - slender geometric pyramid, 4 turrets in the corners of the gallery

  • 1870 a wind storm knocked down the whole truss of the tower

  • 1872 a new truss similar to the previous one

  • 20th Century

  • 1904 new clock faces

  • 1938 the bell burst

  • 1940 removal, repair and reinstallation of the bell

  • 1942 replacement of the wind-damaged weathervane

  • 1965 repair of the truss, new roof covering

  • 1976 repair of masonry, astronomical clock and clock


  • ¨21st Century

  • 2004 installation of automatic winding of the clockwork

The Vondra bell

The bell is used exclusively for manual ringing and has undergone repair and maintenance since its re-hanging in the Black Tower in 2000. In 1581, master bell-ringer Martin Jindra made a new bell for the tower. It was hung two years later and was named Bartolomej-Ondřej, popularly known as "Vondra. The name of the tower comes from its burning by numerous fires, especially the big fire in 1758, during which the original bell also spilled from the heat. In 1760, a new bell was hung bell, coming from the workshop of PA Jacomini. This bell is also popularly called "Vondra". In 1938, the bell broke due to a heavy heart and was repaired in the bell-making workshop of Rudolf Manousek the elder and hung up again in 1940

Hrubý povrch

The current bell is the fourth; the previous ones melted down in the tower fires. In 1759, it was cast by the Italian bellmaker Peter Antonius Jacomini from Passau. He cast it in the ground in the courtyard of the adjacent Jesuit college.

The bell was given the same name as the previous one, Bartoloměj Ondřej, but locals in Klatovy call it Vondra.

 The bell had a very turbulent history, which you can learn about in detail on the website of the Klatovy Bell Ringers.

 The Vondra bell is one of the 20 largest bells in the Czech Republic.

Weight of the bell: 3,915 kg

Weight of the heart: 131 kg

Lower diameter of the bell in the wreath: 195 cm

Height of the bell: 145 cm; 180 cm including the crown.

It has a very deep sound and is tuned to F sharp.

Such a large bell is rung only by hand. The bell was rung by the tower keeper and his assistants.

 The main mission of the bell was to warn the inhabitants of approaching enemies and fire. The announcement of the danger was made by striking the bell with the heart, the so-called striking.

 The bell was rung on important religious and secular festivals, but also on important funerals.

 The bell was not used during the socialist era.

 In 1990, a group of Klatovy enthusiasts came together, and the bell started ringing again thanks to their efforts; its sound can still be heard in the surroundings today. It rings regularly, eight times a year, on important church and state holidays.

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