The Story of Five Centuries
The first written mention of the second oldest buildings in Jicin, in historical sources called simply "Tower", was found in a document by Nicholas Trčka of Lipa issued on July 6, 1502. It was built on the embankment of the Kníže lake, and the flow of the river Cidlina supplied it with water. In 1543, the original wooden construction was rebuilt to its present renaissance style. The construction of the Tower was financed by a loan from the Wallenstein prince's chamber of 500 golden coins and provided material worth 148 golden coins and 40 kreutzers.
The square building consists of stone blocks in five departments with the roof originally covered with shingles and later slate. On the eastern side is the sundial. Inside, on the ground floor, there was a pumping machine driven by a water wheel, which drew the water and pushed through the iron pipes up to the top floor into a copper tank. From there the water flew into the city fountains and into the castle through pine pipes connected with iron joints.
The major renovation of the Tower was finished in 1649. In 1845, the Prague mechanic Romuald Božek repaired the pumps of the water pipeline at the cost of 196 gold coins and 30 kreutzers. When the third stone fountain was built in 1876 at the Wallenstein Square behind the statue of the Holy Trinity, the new powerful water pump costing 1750 golden coins was bought from the Fric and Machacek factory in Chlumec nad Cidlinou. Installation of the machine required 870 golden coins and pipes for the new fountain costed 720 golden coins. The local savings bank contributed 1,000 golden coins to the reconstruction. Following the construction of a new water pipeline from Studeňany in 1907 the water tower lost its original purpose and after the introduction of electricity to the town, it was converted into a transformer station. In 1993, the Tower was bought from the city by local artist Petr Heber and converted into a gallery of his works. In 2013, the already considerably dilapidated building obtained a new owner. It subsequently underwent a total refurbishment, during which there was maximum attention paid to the utilization of indigenous materials and historical furniture put into its present form.
The building of the Tower is a testament to the construction development of the city, technical expertise and craft, and high aesthetic level of buildings of its time. It is an important urban object with a dominant position on the Kníže lake embankment in the northwestern part of the first protection zone of the Urban Conservation Jicin. The Tower is a cultural monument registered in the Central list of cultural monuments of the Czech Republic under register number 45094 / 6-1097.
The detailed history of the Tower Jicin can be found here (in Czech only):