Petrin Hill & Park

Located in the Lesser Town area of Prague, Petrin Hill is a favorite among tourists as well as locals. This 130 m tall hill overlooks the left bank of the Vltava River and it is full of parks and historical attractions. You can reach the top of the hill using the Pet?ín funicular, first operated in 1891, from Prague’s Malá Strana district. The line is 383 meters long and the track gauge is 1 meter. The funicular service was interrupted form 1914 to 1932 due to the hostilities of the First World War, and from 1965 to 1985 due to an earthquake.

One of the attractions of Petrin Hill is the Hunger Wall, a medieval defense wall built by order of Charles IV during the early 1360s. The wall was originally 4.5 meters high and 1.8 meter wide and was equipped with battlements and bastions to protect Prague Castle and Malá Strana against attacks from the west or south. The wall gets its peculiar name because its construction provided employment for the city’s poor during a famine in 1361. Surrounded by the Hunger Wall and other fortifications built in the 17th and 18th centuries lies the beautiful Rose Garden which is 5.6 hectares in size.

A tourist favorite, the Petrin lookout tower, was built in 1891 as part of the Jubilee Exhibition, it is 60 meters high and has 299 steps to the viewing platform. Its architecture is strongly inspired by that of the Eiffel Tower and it has been used as an observation and transmission tower. There is an elevator to go up if you don’t want to climb it, and there is also a gift shop and a cafeteria located on the main level. From here you can enjoy Prague’s skyline and on a very clear day it is possible to see Snezka, the highest peak in the Czech Republic. Another remnant of the 1891 expo is the Mirror Labyrinth, its castle-like building is an attraction aimed especially for the little ones.

Next to the lookout tower, you can find the single-aisle baroque St Lawrence Church with its three towers. This church dates back to the year 1135 and it is most know for the St. Laurence’s pilgrimages, which include pilgrimages around the chapels of Calvary.

Štefánik´s Observatory was founded 1928 and it is named after Slovak astronomer Milan Rastislav Štefánik. The main function of the observatory is to popularize astronomy and other related natural sciences. The main telescopes of the observatory are a double Zeiss astrograph, original from 1928, and a mirror Maksutov-Cassegrain installed in 1976 in the western dome. In 1999, a Meade 40cm mirror telescope was acquired for the eastern dome of the observatory and is primarily being used for scientific observations.
Another interesting church is St Michael Church. It is situated in the upper part of Kinského garden where it was transferred to in 1929 from the village of Velké Lou?ky near Muka?evo (Ukraine, considered Subcarpathian Ruthenia). This wooden church consecrated to St. Michael was built in the second half of the 17th century. Its transfer was sponsored by the National Museum with support of the Minister of education and national enlightenment.

Finally, unveiled on May 22, 2002, the Memorial to the victims of Communism is a series of seven bronze figures descending a flight of stairs, which commemorates the victims of the Communist era between 1948-1989. It was build by Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek and architects Jan Kerel and Zden?k Holzel. The statues are made to depict how political prisoners were affected by Communism, and it accomplish this portraying a symbolic decay of their bodies.