Petrin Hill and The Observation Tower

The Petřín hill that dominates the Lesser Town a in the height of 328 m belongs to the largest parks in Prague. The place became famous already in the Pagan times; it is mentioned in the first manuscripts as the executing place of the Vršovci kin that were defeated by the Přemyslovci. It was also a ritual place of the Slavonic gods and the place where were done the sacrifices to the Perun. Also because of this reasons at the beginning of t he 10th century the first building at this place was the Church of St Lawrence to reject the reminds at the Pagan cults.

The church was rebuilt to its present form in the baroque style in the years 1770- 1780. Since 1994 the Church is owned by the Old Catholic Church. Due to some information the name Petřín comes from the Latin word petrus (rocks), what is connected to the upper part of Petřín from argillite and sandstone (national reservation Petřín Rocks). The argillite was used also for the construction of the Starvation Wall, called also Jagged or Bread Wall. It was built by the Emperor Charles IV in the years 1360-1362 as a new fortification for the Lesser Quarter. It is said that the Emperor wanted to provide work to hundreds of people in the times of crop failure. The bastions have not preserved till the present. The wall was fortified in the time of Maria Theresa and one of the new created bastions became a ground of the Štefánik observatory, built in 1928.

From the Kinský place we come to the foothill of Petřín in the Kinský Gardens designed in the landscape style with the Empire villa from the years 1828-1833, where is now located the Ethic museum, part of the National Museum in Prague. Since 1914 near | the villa there is placed the monument of t he actress Hana Kvapilová made by Jan Štursa. Another interesting place of Petřín is the wooden Orthodox Church of St Michael, transferred from the village Medvedovce in Mukačevo at the occasion of the annexation of the Sub-Carpathian Russia to the first Czechoslovak Republic. At the beginning of the 20″‘century there was from the Kampa to the lower lake transferred also the sandstone statue of Hercules from the end of the 17,h century. The upper lake is decorated with the statue of the Sea Lion from the sculptor Jan Lauda.

Along the fortification on the way down from Strahov there are the Calvary Chapels (painted by Jakub Schikaneder) and the last building in the surrounding of the Petfin Tower is the Chapel of the Sepulchre of Christ in an Orient style that is the copy of the real grave in Jerusalem. The Calvary Chapel (the chapel of the Holy Rood) is a baroque building from the years 1735-1737 with the sculpture of Calvary and the Christ Dungeon.

Further we continue to the Statue of the Holy Mary placed at the highest place of the Great Strahov Garden, that is a part of the Strahov Monastery Gardens. The statue was made by the emigrants in Roma in 1954 according to the pictures of the statue at the marble column at the Old Town Square, and then was put in the Benedictine abbey in the town Lisle close to Chicago and in 1993 was again transferred to Prague. Via the lower view route through the Strahov Garden we return back, we pass along the National Reservation Petfin rocks, Lobkovic Garden, with the memorial of the poet Jaroslav Vrchlicky, which belongs to the Lobkovic Palace, the residence of the German Embassy. Further we walk though the Seminary Garden, one of the pear trees is dated back to the times of the writer Jan Neruda and in the lower part of the garden we can see his bronze statue from 1970 made by Jan Simota. Not far from here there is the bronze fountain with the statues of two boys, called U Žabiček. The models for the statues of the boys playing with the frog were the grandchildren of T. G. Masaryk, Leonard and Herbert, that died in the war. In the garden there is also the early classicist Chapel of Sf Lewis and in 1950 there was transferred the sandstone statue of the famous Czech violinist and composer Ferdinand Laub (1832-1875). In the Seminary Garden we can also find the well with the spring Petřínka, due to the legends with the healing and aphrodisiac effects.

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