Whether you’re a tourist or a Prague citizen, when you want to relax, climb Petřín Hill, which offers wonderful views of the old city. The hill is on the left bank of the Vltava River, 327 metres above sea level. It features tree-lined walking trails as well as grassy areas where you can rest and look over the red roofs of the city to watch boats on the river.
According to historical materials, Petřín Hill used to be very rocky. That’s where the name supposedly comes from: ‘petrae’ means ‘rock’ in Latin. The stone excavated here was used for many of the city’s buildings. However, there are other stories of how the hill got its name. In the middle ages, Petřín Hill was not a picnic spot. Instead, it served as an execution site. Since the Renaissance, when people started building vineyards and planting fruit and ornamental trees, it has become a popular place for outings.
There are many interesting sights. The most important is the Petřín lookout tower. To get to the top of the hill, you can use the funicular, which was built in 1891. At that time, Nebozízek was the final stop. At the top, you can visit the mirror maze, the Štefánik Observatory, the rose garden or St. Lawrence’s Church. There are also many statues of Czech cultural greats located on the hill, such as the poets Karel Hynek Mácha, Jan Neruda and Jaroslav Vrchlický. The top path leads to the Strahov Monastery or the Prague Castle.
Petřín Lookout Tower
The lookout tower is the landmark of Petřín Hill. It was built in 1891 by the Czech Tourist Club and inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Construction began in March 1891, and the tower was inaugurated in August of the same year.
The lookout tower has had a turbulent history. In 1938, a fire broke out at the top; luckily, all 100 visitors were evacuated safely. The tower has had other uses besides simply serving as a lookout tower. In 1953, a TV transmitter was placed on the top, replacing the original crown and flag. In 1979, the lookout tower was completely closed to the public due to its poor conditions. It was rebuilt, and it reopened in 1991 to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Between 1999 and 2002, the lookout tower underwent a general overhaul.