4. The town belfry

Tourism Information System, obr: 307 title=

The slender prismatic tower of the town belfry rises above the town like a finger pointed at the skies. Looked at from a distance, it creates a common silhouette with the deanery church next to it, and after the castle on the high hill constitutes the second most prominent feature of the town skyline. The belfry is a late-Gothic structure dating from around 1500, which was witness to the rise of Vimperk after it received town-status. Original parts include the stone jamb of the entrance, a plinth with a Gothic band cornice located on the first floor level, and one corbel of the original oriel. The belfry was reconstructed in 1866, after a fire in 1861 destroyed the roof, the dome and a major part of the Baroque decoration. The last remains of Baroque paintings on the front, probably of immense value, were removed in a 1909-adaptation.

Tourism Information System, obr: 308 title=

The main purpose of the belfry was obviously to shelter the bells, whose mighty pealing heralded regular, special, as well as truly exceptional events in the life of the town. The inhabitants knew the chimes indicating a particular kind of event, were able to interpret the message and respond to it, if necessary. In the course of the centuries, various bells, large and small, hung in the belfry, including the ominous death bell. The oldest of them was made in the 15th century, while the largest was raised to the top of the belfry in the first half of the 18th century. Even today the ringing at noon evokes a kind of emotion that cannot be forgotten. It resonates above the rooftops on its way to the church and the castle, creating a unique soundscape, arching like a bridge between the troubled but glorious past of Vimperk and the hustle and bustle of today.