Prague Towers – Petřín Observation Tower

The Petřín Observation Tower has the reputation of offering the best views over Prague.  Its reputation is deserved, and on top of that there are several other things to see on the westward walk from Prague’s Old Town to Petřín Hill.  You can leave the Old Town by walking across the famous Charles Bridge (taking in the Old Town Bridge Tower and the Lesser Town Bridge Tower at either end, if you are so inclined).

Charles BridgeOnce over the bridge you need to weave your way south west, but it is worth heading north quickly first, to the narrowest street in the city.  It is so narrow it even has pedestrian traffic lights at each end!

The Narrowest Street in PragueWe found out why these traffic lights are required!

The Narrowest Street in PragueWe walked to the end to see where this street would deposit us.  We didn’t realise, but it was a cul-de-sac, terminating in the beer garden of a restaurant.  A waiter stood expectantly at the street’s end.  His face lit up as we approached – customers!  We stopped and looked at him, smiled, said hello and then turned back and walked off again before the lights changed.  His continued smiling at us but there was a hint of resignation on his face; he must get this all the time.

The narrowest street is worth a quick visit, but as you head back south remember to take in the Lennon Wall on your way.

Lennon WallThe Lennon Wall is a normal wall – well it used to be.  Situated in a quiet and secluded part of Prague’s Lesser Town, a portrait of Lennon appeared on the wall after his murder in 1980.  He became a pacifist hero for many young Czechs, and his portrait was accompanied by Beatles Lyrics and political graffiti.  The Communist regime of the time responded by whitewashing the wall, but the more the wall was whitewashed, the more the graffiti reappeared.  With each cycle of whitewashing and graffiti painting the wall grew in stature as a political focus.  It was a source of constant irritation to the authorities until the Velvet Revolution of 1989 brought the Communist regime to an end.

In November 2014, on the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, students whitewashed the wall and left a single slogan:  “Wall is over”.  We visited the Lennon Wall one month later and could still see this slogan in large stencilled lettering (you can see it in the photo above).  As for the rest of the graffiti we saw, this had appeared within the space of that single month between the whitewashing and our visit.  One month to produce all that colour.  The wall is owned by the Knights of Malta who over the years have appeared content to allow the graffiti to continue.   They even considered a criminal prosecution against the November 2014 whitewashers.

Lennon WallPetřín Hill lies to the south west of the Lennon Wall.  Rather than walk, we took the funicular railway up.

Funicular Railway to Petřín Observation TowerThe Petřín Observation Tower is a short walk from the top funicular station.  It was built in 1891 for the World’s Fair of that year.

Petřín Observation TowerThe tower is only 60m (197 feet) high.  That may not sound very high at all, but it also stands on a hill 318m (1,043 feet high) so in fact it has very commanding views indeed.

Petřín Observation TowerThe viewing platform is accessed via 299 steps – it is worth the climb!  Prague and the world beyond lay spread out before us on a quilted landscape of wooded green and terracotta rooftops.

Prague View from Petřín Observation TowerThe Vltava River ran its course in the middle distance, and in the Old Town beyond we could see many familiar landmarks.

Prague View from Petřín Observation TowerFrom here we also had great views to St Vitus’s Cathedral at Prague Castle, our next tower destination.

St Vitus's Cathedral from Petřín Observation Tower

Points in this post (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • Charles Bridge:     N 50° 05.189 E 014° 24.673
  • Prague’s Narrowest Street:  N 50° 05.272 E 014° 24.572
  • Lennon Wall:   N 50° 05.172 E 014° 24.410
  • Funicular Railway Station:   N 50° 04.960 E 014° 24.205
  • Petřín Observation Tower:  N 50° 05.009 E 014° 23.713
  • St Vitus’ Cathedral Tower:  N 50° 05.437 E 014° 24.010

Trip Statistics:

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4 Responses to Prague Towers – Petřín Observation Tower

  1. Pingback: Prague Towers – Old Town Hall Tower | The Coastal Path

  2. Pingback: Prague Towers – Old Town Bridge Tower | The Coastal Path

  3. Great views and love that narrow street – shame it didn’t lead somewhere more interesting!

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