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The lookout tower on the Petřín hill of Prague: the little sister of Eiffel Tower in Paris.

3 min read

The Petřín Lookout Tower (Petřínská Rozhledna), where tourists can see one of the most beautiful view of Prague, was built as part of the Jubilee Exhibition in 1891 inspired by the Eiffel Tower. In fact, when in 1889 the members of the Czech Tourist Club visited the world exhibition in Paris, they were so impressed by the view of the famous Eiffel Tower, that they decided to create a similar dominant above the capital of Czech Republic.

It was decided that a five-time smaller imitation of the Eiffel Tower would be built on the Petřín hill, 318 m above the sea level, the construction started in March 1891 according to the design of arch. Vratislav Pasovský and grew up incredibly fast. The View Tower made up with a light octagonal lattice steel construction on which 175 tons of iron was used, was inaugurated on the 20th August 1891. It is 63.5 metres high, and have 299 steps until its peak, which, thanks to the hill, is at the same altitude as the real Eiffel Tower. The beautiful view from its top overlooks not only all the city, but on a sunny days you can see nearly all of Bohemia. Over the years, it was damaged and had to be partially re-built and the site where there was the old elevator, used like a television transmitter.

The hill now known as Petřín had several other names in the past. First it was called Hora (in english Mountain), then Kopec (Hill) or St. Lawrence Hill for the church on its top. The name Petřín was derived from the mountainous form of the hill, and from the rocks („petrae“ in Latin). The first background history in the Petřín territory was about the Romanesque period, and the stone called opuka (aranaceous marlstone) was later used as building material for a great number of Prague houses. Before this discovery, Petřín had been completely covered by trees. In the past there was a significant gallows where now there is St. Lawrence Church, where not only common criminals were executed, but also people convicted for political reasons.

In the Renaissance period, under the reign of the Emperor Rudolph II, Petřín Hill was already a popular place for walks and trips and were gradually planted trees and decorative bushes. Several times in its history Petřín became a shelter for troops, like in 1611 when it became a camp for the troops of Leopold von Habsburg or later, during the Thirty Years War. Obviously the presence of the troops was always a great damage for Petřín because they destroyed everything, and despite were numerous attempts to renovate the desolated Petřín, due to new wartime affairs were built fortifications instead of parks. Only later were created here beautiful parks, full of flowers, trees and Statues.

Text Adam for http://www.random-times.com // Photos concession  ©️Anya Ph // historic photos archiv.ihned.cz

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