Monday, May 5, 2008

Petřín Hill

Hi Everyone,

This past weekend my husband and I visited Petřín Hill, which can be found in Malá Strana, Prague 5. Petřín is a prominent hill that overlooks Prague—the views from there are gorgeous! This is one of the most beautiful spots in Prague. It is situated close to Prague Castle and was once covered in vineyards which belonged to Emperor Charles IV. You would never know it, but Petřín Hill was also once a quarry from which much of the stone for many of the sites in Prague were built! Petřín is a relaxing place to see, with many tourist sites to visit. We spent an entire afternoon exploring this picturesque hill.

Along the way up to the top of Petřín you will encounter some portions of the Hungry Wall. The wall was built from 1360 to 1362 by Charles IV. It was to help protect the city of Prague, but was also to help the starving peasants of Prague as there was a severe famine in that time. The peasants did the work and were paid for their labor with food. The wall is 1178 meters long, 170 cm wide and about 8 meters high.

Another unique find is the funicular! What is a funicular, you ask? I asked the same thing when someone first mentioned it to me! A funicular is similar to a cable car (on rails), and is used on steep inclines. There are two funiculars that counterbalance one another on the ways up and down. The funicular on Petřín Hill links Malá Strana with the top of the hill. The funicular was opened in 1891. My husband and I didn’t ride the funicular, but it was fun to see it…this is the first one I’ve ever seen!

Further along the trail to the top, you come into areas that are planted with apple and pear trees. These orchards are beautiful, and it is even possible to pick the fruit from these trees for free! On our trip we saw many paths leading under many of the apple trees. My husband told me these paths were made in the grass on May Day—when everyone was kissing their sweet heart under the blooming apple trees!

There are some interesting places to visit when you reach the top of Petřín. There is the House of Mirrors, the Starokatolická Církev (the Old Catholic Church of St. Lawrence--amongst some other smaller churches and chapels), Petřín Tower (a one-fifth size replica of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris), and some beautiful rose gardens and an observatory, and you can also see the beautiful Strahov Monastery and its grounds. The House of Mirrors was very popular the day we visited the hill. Once inside, we had so much fun finding our way through the mirror maze! Next, we saw the diorama - painting of the Thirty Years War—with the Swedes attacking Prague. After that, was the hall of “funny mirrors” that distorted images of people—with everything from everyone being extremely fat, extremely short or otherwise extremely tall and thin--everyone spent quite a bit of time in this hall—it was hilarious for all ages!!

Needless to say, there is much to see and do on Petřín Hill. It easily can take up an entire afternoon, as it did for my husband and I. It offers something for everyone, and is a wonderful break from the regular sightseeing to be found in Prague!

That’s all for now…you all have a great day!

God bless,

Sherry :0)

© 2008 by czechoffthebeatenpath

Photos property of S. A. Vacik

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