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Petrin Lover's Tower in Prague
Lesser Quarter Prague

Petřín (327 m) is a lovers' hill in the center of Prague, Czech Republic. It rises some 130 m above the left bank of the Vltava River. The hill, almost entirely covered with parks, is a favorite recreational area for the inhabitants of Prague. The hill is featured prominently in Franz Kafka's early short story "Description of a Struggle" and briefly in Milan Kundera's novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

The chronicler Cosmas describes Petřín as a very rocky place, the hill is allegedly called Petřín because of the large number of rocks (Latin: petra). Since ancient times there was digged stones, from which Prague has built a lot of buildings. Medieval defense wall, the Hunger Wall was built on Petřín Hill during 1360 - 1362, by the order of Czech King Charles IV. The Petřín Lookout Tower, which strongly resembles the Eiffel Tower, was built atop a hill in 1891. Other sights include the Rose Garden, Mirror Maze, St. Lawrence Cathedral and St. Michael Church.

The summit of the hill is linked to Prague's Malá Strana district by the Petřín funicular, a funicular railway that first operated in 1891.

  • Petřín lookout tower
  • Petřín funicular
  • Hunger Wall
  • Mirror Maze
  • Rose Garden
  • Štefánik's Observatory
  • Strahov Stadium
  • St. Lawrence Cathedral
  • St. Michael Church (wooden church from the second half of the 17th century in Boyko style, transferred from Subcarpathian Ruthenia in 1929)
  • Memorial to the victims of Communism

 

Petřín Lookout Tower

The Petřín Lookout Tower (Czech: Petřínská rozhledna) is a 63.5-meter-tall steel-framework tower in Prague, which strongly resembles the Eiffel Tower. The Petřín Tower was built in 1891 and was used as an observation tower as well as a transmission tower. Today the Petřín Tower is a major tourist attraction. The hill is roughly a half-hour walk up paths (which gets quite slippery in the snow) and the tower is a shorter but fairly tiring climb; however, the hill is served by a frequent funicular and the tower has an elevator for disabled people. In 2014 the tower was visited by more than 557,000 visitors, with foreigners accounting for over 70% of said visitors.

The two observation platforms are accessible via 299 stairs in sections of 13 per flight running around the inside of the structure.

There are a gift shop and a small cafeteria on the main level. On the lowest level is a small exhibition area. One exhibition displayed Merkur Observation Towers and was held from 6 March 2013 to 30 March 2014.

The Petřín Tower is often described as small version of the Eiffel Tower. In contrast to the Eiffel Tower, The Petřín Tower has an octagonal, not square, cross-section. Further, it does not stand, as does the Eiffel Tower, on four columns of lattice steel. The whole area under its legs is covered with the entrance hall. A similarity between the Eiffel Tower and The Petřín Tower is the design of the lowest cross beams in the form of round bones.

In 1889, members of the Club of Czech Tourists visited the world exposition in Paris and were inspired by the Eiffel Tower. They collected a sufficient amount of money and in March 1891 the building of the tower started for the General Land Centennial Exhibition. It was finished in only four months. In 1953, a television broadcasting antenna was installed on Petřínská rozhledna, the program feed performed by a directional radio antenna. This served as Prague's main television signal provider until the opening of the Žižkov Television Tower in late 1992. In 1999, the tower was completely renovated. From 21 January 2013 the tower is operated by City of Prague Museum

 

Petřín Funicular

The Petřín funicular is a funicular railway in the Czech capital city of Prague. It links the Malá Strana district with the top of Petřín hill. The funicular has three stops: Újezd (at the bottom of the hill), Nebozízek (the middle station) and Petřín (at the top of the hill).

According to Czech legend, the name of the middle station Nebozízek stems from an incident in which little son of Emperor Charles IV, requesting food, was unable to properly pronounce the Czech letter "ř" when he requested for a schnitzel, so instead of "nebo řízek" (meaning, "or schnitzel"), he expressed the word Nebozízek which actually means diminutively one of types of auger.

The line was originally opened in 1891, with a length of 383 meters (1,257 ft), a track gauge of 1,000 mm (3' ft - 3 3/8" in) , and water balance propulsion. This original line closed with start of the First World War in 1914 and did not reopen after the end of hostilities. The current longer line opened in 1932 with a different track gauge and completely new equipment, and operated throughout the Second World War. However a landslide in 1965 caused the service to be suspended, and it was not resumed until 1985. At that time new cars were provided and the track was reconstructed, but the original machinery retained.

Although design and architecture of the stations are similar to Prague Metro, the funicular is actually operated by the trams division of the city transport company.

  • Length: 510 meters (1,673 ft)
  • Height: 130 meters (427 ft)
  • Stations: 3
  • Cars: 2
  • Maximum gradient: 29.5%
  • Configuration: Single track with passing loop
  • Track gauge: 1,435 mm (4' ft - 8 1/2" in)
  • Capacity: 101 passengers per car
  • Traction: Electricity

 

Memorial to the Victims of Communism

The Memorial to the victims of Communism (Czech: Pomník obětem komunismu) is a series of statues in Prague commemorating the victims of the communist era between 1948 and 1989. It is located at the base of Petřín hill, Újezd street in the Malá Strana or the Lesser Town area.

"The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism"

It was unveiled on the 22 May 2002, twelve years after the fall of communism, and is the work of Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek and architects Jan Kerel and Zdeněk Holzel. It was supported by the local council and Confederation of Political Prisoners (KPV).

It shows seven bronze figures descending a flight of stairs. The statues appear more "decayed" the further away they are from you - losing limbs and their bodies breaking open. It symbolises how political prisoners were affected by Communism.

There is also a bronze strip that runs along the centre of the memorial, showing estimated numbers of those impacted by communism:

  • 205,486 arrested
  • 170,938 forced into exile
  • 4,500 died in prison
  • 327 shot trying to escape
  • 248 executed

Prior to the memorial being unveiled, there were reports in the local media about an apparent political row over who should attend the ceremony. President Václav Havel, a leading dissident in the communist era was not invited until the last minute, and then declined to attend.

The memorial has not been universally welcomed, with some artists saying the memorial is kitsch and others critical that female figures were not included. One of the statues was damaged during two bomb blasts in 2003, no group has admitted carrying out the attacks.

 

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