Petrin Hill is one of Prague’s top attractions.
Petrin Hill is the largest green area in the center of Prague, Czech Republic. It was formerly one of King Charles’ vineyards and from the top of the hill there are beautiful views of Prague. The hill is easily recognizable by the TV tower that looks like a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Petrin Hill was names centuries ago because it is very rocky and the Latin word for rocks is petra. The name has not changed over time but now it is easy to explore the hill on the maze of well-kept paths that cover the hill.
Memorial to the Victims of Communism
Most of the attractions at Petrin Hill are located on top of the hill but at the base of the hill is a small memorial to the Victims of Communism. The memorial has several decayed looking statues of men standing in two rows. The statues represent the horrors of an oppressive communist regime that ruled in Czechoslovakia for 41 years. The memorial is symbolic but very vivid as all of the statues are missing body parts.
Take the funicular to the hill top
The funicular is a cable railway that shuttles people up the steep slope to the top of Petrin Hill. It is much easier than hiking up the hill and it has some nice views on the way up. It runs every 10 to 15 minutes and has two stops. The first stop is at the halfway point and the second stop is at the very top.
The top attraction of Petrin Hill is the Petrin Tower. The tower is 63.5 meters high (208 ft.) making it 324 feet above sea level and the viewing platform provides very nice views over the city. There is an elevator that goes to the viewing platform but it is also possible to take the stairs. Taking the stairs is a little deceptive because it only takes about four minutes to get to the observation point.
There is a reason the Petrin Tower resembles the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In 1889 a group of Czech Tourist visited the world exposition in Paris and were inspired by its appearance. Soon after that the Petrin Tower was built imitating the Eiffel Tower but it is one fifth the scale of the Eiffel Tower.
The Stefanik Observatory on the top of Petrin Hill has several programs to entertain and educate visitors in astronomy. The observatory gives visitors a chance to learn more about physics, astronomy and the sky above us. In front of the observatory is a statue of is a statue of Milan R. Stefanik as an aviator. This emphasizes his military service in addition to his scientific achievements.
Petrin Hill Gardens
Petrin Hill is one of the largest urban green areas and it is an urban oasis of calm in the center of Prague. There are three gardens in the park: the Rose Garden, the Nebozizek Garden and the Seminary Garden. Photos of the gardens and green space are shown below.
A large medieval wall stretches through the park that looks a little strange for being in a city park. The wall is called the Hunger Wall because it was built by the poorest inhabitants of Prague to give them work so they could feed their families. The wall was built in the 14th century and is 8 meters high and 1178 meters long.
Church of St. Lawrence
The Church of St. Lawrence is located near of the Petrin Tower and is one of many beautiful churches in Prague. The original church was built in 1135 but the current church was rebuilt in 1780.
The park is very large and there are several other structures that can be seen. Two of the other building that I felt were interesting are shown in the two photos below.
Views of Prague
Petrin Hill is a nice place to relax and enjoy some open spaces inside a large city but many people come to the top of Petrin just to enjoy the views of Prague. Petrin Hill offers nice views of Prague Castle, Prague’s historical buildings and an uncountable number of spire in the heart of the city which makes it obvious why Prague is known as the “city of a hundred spires”.
Visiting city parks is something that I like to do in each new city that I visit. Every city park that I have visited has been completely different. I feel like most big city parks are part of the culture of the city. Everything in the park has a story for why it is part of the park. Some parts of the parks that I visit may seem strange or out of place but when I learn the meaning of their importance then it always makes sense.
Three examples of this in Petrin Hill are the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, Petrín Tower and the Hunger Wall.
At first sight the Memorial to the Victims of Communism was extremely strange but after learning that it was a memorial to a very tragic part of the country’s history that they don’t want to forget or relive then it is understandable why it looks the way it does.
The Petrin Tower can be seen from many places in the city and it seem strange to see a miniature Eiffel Tower on the hill to in the Czech Republic but after learning the back story then it seems a little more reasonable.
The Hunger Wall looks like a random wall stretching across a beautiful hillside but it is more than a huge wall. It is a reminder of a construction project that was not built for the purpose of separating or dividing but to provide for the needs of the people.