Rest well my friend in this most beautiful and peaceful part of Praha. Your rest is surely well deserved. Your and your parents generations of Slavic people endured many hardships and abuses at the hands of the ruling classes and external enemies. Better times are certainly ahead for you and are most deserved by your great nation of people.
This photo was taken on Easter Sunday, 2003. The weather was a perfect 10. Shown is one of the beautiful gardens in Petrin Hill Park. Prague's 650 year old defense wall provides a handsome backdrop. Most of the remaining 1200 meters of the "hunger" wall are surrounded by masterfully landscaped and well maintained public greenbelt. Excellent city planning in my opinion. They do it so much better than so many cities that have had much more time to hone their planning skills.
See my tip on the Petrin Hill tower for transporatation options. My recommended option is to walk the scenic and low degree of difficulty footpath from Strahov monastary. There are also two scenic footpaths extending from the base of Petrin Hill Park at the Vlatva River to the crest. You can also offer a prayer for peace and tolerance while at the monastary. May we learn from the sorrows of the past never to repeat our acts of hatred and prejudice.
From the vantage point of the Petrin Hill tower is shown kostel sv Vavrince and the chapel of the tomb of Christ. Both were completed during the high baroque period, which their architecture attests to. Also shown is part of the winding 650 year old hladova zed ( hunger wall ). This was the city defense which is now totally surrounded and complimented by masterfully landscaped and very well kept green belt.
This now pleasant and relaxing part of central Praha is where those accused of witchcraft and others who challenged the policies and doctrines of the mother church ( such as Jan Hus ) were burned at the stake back in the days of religious intolerance and superstition. Contrary to popular opinion, Hus was not executed in old town sqaure at the location where his monument now stands.
Red tile roofs like those covering the church and chapel are the roofs of choice throughout this region of Europe. They will add nice color to your photos of the region.
This observation tower was the pride and joy of Archduke Franz Ferdinand d'Este ( Ferdie ). The tower was built for the Bohemian exhibition of 1891. The semi modest funds available in the governmental coffers of Bohemia were much too insufficient to build a tower anywhere near as large as the recently completed Eiffel Tower in Paris, but not to be deterred Ferdie went with this 1/3 scale model of the Paris erector set masterpiece. He put one over on his French rivals by locating this one at the highest elevation in old Prague. By doing this, the relative elevation of his tower pinnacle to city center was much greater than that of the Eiffel. The brilliant and very clever Ferdie had indeed outdone his French rivals for a small fraction of the cost.
Shown in front of the tower are the pavillion and some sort of amusement building ( house of mirrors or some such thing ) that were part of the same exhibition.
The small admission price into the tower is well worth it for excellent views of the city. Warning to the out-of-shape: No elevator to carry you to the observation decks. Use the steps. The tower sways in the wind, but worrying about such trivial matters is only for the faint of heart.
To get there take the funicular train or enjoy the hike through some of Prague's finest greenbelt. By the way the train fare is covered by your public transportation pass. Don't visit Prague without one. A 24 hour pass will set you back a whopping 70 koruna.
Petrin is a large hill made into a city park right next to the castle area where the citizens of Prague go to relax and enjoy a weekend afternoon. You can either walk all the way up the hill with increasingly amazing views of the city, or take the funucular up the hill and end up at the top, where there is a garden, a maze, a glass house, and Petrin Tower. Half way up there is also a restaurant to grab a snack or a pint of the ever popular Czech beer. At the bottom of the hill is a large playground for children where parents can sit and relax while their kids tear around the place!
There are many interesting things to see on Petrin Hill so make sure you bring your camera!
The mirror maze on Petrin Hill is right next to the Petrin Tower so we called in as a fun diversion to our day whilst we were there, entry was 40czk but there are limited opening times during the winter months. It only took us around 10 minutes to walk around it but the thing that really interested us was about halfway round there is a fantastic painting of the Czechs fighting the Swedish army on Charles Bridge during the 30 Years War.
This photo was shot from the scenic cobblestone footpath leading to Strahov Monastary from Mala Strana. The location was a little uphill from the turnoff to Prague Castle. Many of Prague's wealthy citizens live within the vast greenbelt area on the plateaus below Petrin Hill summit park. Most of the fine houses including those shown in this photo were built during the post communist era, and display much individuality and creativity. The economy continues to improve for Prague and for most of Czechia. Closer views of the houses are afforded from the numerous footpaths bisecting the public greenbelt areas. Mid April is an excellent time to explore Prague when the flowering trees are in bloom, and the wildflowers are plentiful. Excellent chances to relax abound.
We'd been planning on taking the Funicular Railway up the hill to check out the views over Prague, and were devastated when we finally managed to find it only to see a sign saying it was closed for renovations for the whole summer. We eventually decided to come back later on in the day when it was a bit cooler and walk up instead, and I'm so glad we did. There's actually some really beautiful walks around the wooded hillside, and although we took the most direct route we could find to the top, it was nice to meander back down again later on. There are plenty of little grassy areas where you can stop for a rest and breaks in the trees offering views over the city. Although it's not something I'd wish to tackle in the heat of the day, it's definitly a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so in the evening.
To get yourself up to the lookout point which is adorned by a scaled down version of the Eiffel Tower, either walk up or take the funicular railway (valid as a public transport so free with your travel pass) It climps up from Ujezd station every 10-15min daily 9.15am-8.45pm except of course on the day I wanted to go up!!
So I sent Rich to the top to snap some shots for VT whilst I stayed on more solid warmer ground. At the top there is a mirror maze which is great for kids. Walking up gives you a clear view of the Hunger wall which the Communists hailed as a great public work which provided employment for the ranks of the citys destitute, but was in fact paid for by expropriation of Jewish property.
There is a lovely rose garden laid out in front of the observatory but obviously no blooms in the cold.
The easiest way to get to this site is to take a tram to Ujezd station. It can be seen from the road. The memorial itself is very unusual. The statues are layed on the steps. It looks like the the people lined in the raw are coming down. The Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek is "responsible" for this lovely memorial. It is rather new, dates from May 2002 .
While it's easy to get caught up in the nonstop activity of the Old Town and Mala Strana, it's nice to get away from the city and spend an afternoon on Petrin Hill. Take the funicular up and walk down. I stopped at a nice cafe about halfway down and had a reasonably priced snack. Also, Petrin Hill is one of the best spots to take photos overlooking the older parts of the city.
Petrin hill and tower are located in Mala Strana. This is where the locals come to relax and sunbathe. There's a funicular that takes you up the hill (requires public transportation ticket, 12 Kc). The tower has 299 steps with several observation decks on the way up (40 Kc). From the top you can see all of Prague (orange and green!), the river valley, and all the way to the mountains.
There is also a 'labyrinth' on Petrin Hill (40 Kc). It is a small mirror maze with a room of funny mirrors at the end. Not really much, but good for a laugh if you're up for it.
Don't lose your way in the mirror labyrinth! This is a maze created of trick mirrors to distort your body in all sorts of ways. There is also Petrin Lookout Tower which seems almost like the Eiffel Tower of Paris.
Website: http://www.prague-info.czRelated to:
Visit Petrin Hill with its mini "Eiffel Tower" on top. You will be able to enjoy beautiful views of Prague, walk around the nice park, and take advantage of some fun activities, some of which are perfect for kids - in case you have yours with you and don't know how to keep them entertained.
Getting up and down the hill
A nice way to organize this outing is to take tram 6, 9, 12, 20, 22 or 23 to the stop called Ujezd, get off there and take the funicular that starts from Ujezd and goes up the hill. You will need to use a public transport ticket (the transfer one for 20 CZK), which you can buy at the funicular departure point. Get off at the very top (it's the second stop - the first one is halfway up the hill). Once you're done visiting the Petrin area, you can take the funicular back, but it is nicer and more interesting to follow one of the trails that lead to the Prague Castle or the Strahov Monastery (flat or downhill).
What to do on Petrin
These are some of the activities that you can do on Petrin hill:
- Climb the Petrin tower for beautiful views of Prague. Don't be mislead by its perceived hight - it only takes four minutes to climb the stairs to the observation point.
- Visit the rose garden
- Visit the observatory
- Visit the Jara Cimrman exhibition below the tower. Jara Cimrman is a celebrated Czech inventor who in fact never existed. Cimrman was recently voted by the Czechs as the largest Czech in the history of the nation. Not surprising if you are familiar with the Czech character... The vote was scratched and remained unofficial due to Cimrman's non-existence.
- Have a hot dog and beer in the buffet below the tower
For kids (and not only for them):
- Visit the mirror maze with its wildly entertaining distorting mirrors
- Take a ride around the park in a pony-drawn carriage. This is very cheap, very silly, and just one of those things that you'd only do when on vacation.
For kids only:
- Put your kid on a pony ride
Towards the top of Petrin Hill is this 18th century wooden folk church which was moved here from a village in the Ukrraine. Just a pity there was building work or path maintenance going on as it made it difficult to get a proper look.
You can reach the top of the hill using the funicular railway, and if you pass by the most popular locations like the Hall of Mirrors and look-out tower, you are bound to find a romantic spot here. Following the paths here, you will find all sorts of corners with statues and memorials. One of the most popular is the memorial to St. Valentine, the patron saint of love, but also of travellers, beekeepers, young people and the plague of all things. There is also a memorial to the famous Czech 19th-century poet Karel Hynek Macha.
Along the ridge of Pertin is a Gothic castle "hunger wall" dating back to the times of Charles IV. This divides the park into two parts. Walking through the gate in the wall, we find ourselves in the Kinsky Gardens sloping down in the direction of the Prague quarter of Smichov. Here it is far less frequented and you will find streams and ponds hidden away here. You will also find the wooden Orthodox Church of St. Michael, which was brought to Prague in 1929 from Medvedovce, which was then part of the First Czechoslovak Republic and is now in the Ukraine. The Kinsky Empire-style villa in the lower part of the gardens was used for exhibitions already 100 years ago.