The complex of buildings surrounding the majestic prismatic water tower in the Old Town at Novotného Lávka is called “Staroměstské Mlýny” (Old Town Mills). The mill-wheels which used to run here once are quiet these days and the building of the former Old Town water house is surrounded by an area of reconstructed houses on the west side. The buildings were connected with the Old Town water tower by a “navel string” as all of them needed the water from the Vltava River for their daily operation.
Unfortunately another common detail was the numerous fires during the war and peacetime. The water tower especially used to be an easy target and was often targeted by the enemy gunfire in order to disrupt the water supply to the city. Another disadvantage was that the water pipes and the water tank used to be heated by an open fire during the winter. The fire could have been started very easily as some of the construction components were made of wood. The tower suffered, all together, nine large blazes and subsequently holds the record in Prague, although the tower was always quickly repaired as it was essential for life in the city.
After the last big fire in 1878 the tower was repaired with an additional floor added. It was also given a neo-gothic roof and the tower clock. The tower is 52 m tall and underwent general reconstruction in the 1980’s. More recently the tower houses 6 storeys and is being used for commercial purposes and is consequently not open to the public.