The Old Town Bridge Tower is one of the most beautiful Gothic gateways in the world. The tower, along with Charles Bridge, was built by Emperor Charles IV according to designs by Petr Parléř in the mid-14 th century. The gate to the Old Town was also conceived as a symbolic victory arch through which Czech kings passed on their coronation processions. For an unforgettable view, visitors must climb 138 steps to the viewing gallery. This blackened, aged gate was completed in 1380 and forms part of the old fortification system of Prague, built to protect the Old Town against northern invaders.Although partially damaged by the failed attempt of marauding Swedes to occupy the Old Town in 1648, sculptures by Peter Parler (whose genius can also be seen in St. Vitus Cathedral) survive.