Panorama of Lesser Town

PETRIN AND LESSER TOWN

Petrin

Strahov is actually a part of the Petřín Orchards, which are the remains of the original layout. They were gradually pushed out by vineyards and gardens. Today, a two kilometre scenic path leads along Petřín, which will lead us through the local places of interest, for example the Petrin Lookout Tower – a 60 m tall replica of Paris’s Eiffel Tower – or the curious Labyrinth of Mirrors. Both were created during the Jubilee Exhibition of 1891. The The Hunger Wall (Hladová zeď) is the remains of the fortification of Lesser Town, which Charles IV had built after the year 1360, reputedly to employ Prague’s poor. Other Petrin curiosities include the Carpathian Church (Karpatský kostelík) dating from the 16th century, which was brought over to today’s Kinský gardens from Carpathian Velká Lúčka, and the Funicular Railway. On Petřín you can find many statues and sculptures, for example, Myslbek’s monument to the Romantic poet K. H. Mácha (from the year 1912) – a favourite place for couples in love.

Lesser Town Square

Petrin and Prague Castle embrace below them Lesser Town (Malá Strana), known earlier as Smaller (Menší) and even before that New Town (Nové Město). A mercantile settlement already existed here in the 8th century, but after Prince Bretislav moved the Jewish settlers from here to the other bank of the Vltava River (in the 11th century), it became the residence of the city’s Czech aristocracy and the envoys of the surrounding rulers. Even today many embassies are located here. However, the quaint Nerudova Street, connecting Lesser Town with Prague Castle, shows that not only the aristocracy resided here. Lesser Town received the rights of a city from Přemysl Otakar II (1257). At that time its centre was Lesser Town Square (Malostranské náměstí) with St. Nicholas’ Church (kostel sv. Mikuláše), which was rebuilt by Christopher and Killian Ignatius Dienzenhofer (1704–52). St. Nicholas’ Church, together with the adjoining Jesuit dormitory, is the most monumental and most representative of Prague’s Baroque religious structures. Not far from here, in Karmelitská Street, there stands a perhaps more humble but possibly more famous structure. Originally a Protestant cathedral, after the lost uprising, it was handed over to the Catholics and consecrated as Our Lady Victorious (Panna Marie Vítězná). In this, the first Baroque Church in Prague, one can find the miraculous Infant Child of Prague (Pražské jezulátko), dating from the year 1628. A Baroque treasure of another sort is harboured in the nearby Augustinian Church of St. Thomas (kostel sv. Tomáše), for which, in the year 1636, an altar was ordered from P. P. Rubens..

Nerudova Street

The magnificence of a number of Baroque palaces located here (e.g. Thun-Hohenstein Palace on Nerudova Street by J. Santini from the year 1726) and the charm of Baroque gardens (e. g. Vrtbovský’s Garden with statues byM. B. Braun from the year 1730 or Ledeburský Garden by J. Santini from the year 1720) build upon the example of the palace of Albrecht of Wallenstein (1624–30), who utilised the Protestant property confiscated after the Battle of White Mountain and on the site of 22 brick buildings and several gardens built his grandiose residence. He decorated the adjoining garden with bronze statues by the famous Adrien de Vries (1626–27), but you’ll only find copies of them there, because the originals, dating from the year 1648, were stolen by the Swedes. Before Albrecht of Wallenstein, these aristocratic residences were much more humble, but no less majestic, as Smiricky Palace on Lesser Town Square demonstrates, even though part of its faćade was reconstructed after the year 1763. Incidentally, from exactly this point on 23 May 1618 a group of Czech noblemen set out for the Castle angry because of the constant violations of religious freedom and the rights of Czech Protestants. They expressed their indignation by throwing the offending clerks out of windows. This – already the third defenestration in our history – started not only the Estates Uprising but also the Thirty Years War. Next to Smiricky Pal-ace stands Sternberg Palace, in which a horrendous fire occurred (1541). The fire struck not only Lesser Town but also Prague Castle. But Lesser Town had lain in ashes before, at the beginning of the Hussite Wars (1419), when a mob “celebrated” the death of Wenceslas IV. Of the oldest structures that have survived to today, probably the most impressive is the Knights of St. John Church of the Virgin Mary Under the Chain (kostel Panny Marie pod řetězem) (1169). The Knights of St. John (after 1530 the Knights of Malta) were to have protected the stone bridge.

PETRIN

Funicular

We recommend a trip by funicular to Petrin particularly to romantic souls. From that place, there is a magnificent view of Prague and you will undestand immediately why it is called hundred-spired. You can go for a pleasant stroll via the Strahov Monastery to the Prague Castle.

The funicular is in operation daily from 9.00 am to 11.00 pm, and it goes at intervals of 15 minutes. You can buy a ticket in advance or on the spot – a ticket costs 26.00 CZK and it is valid for one ride.

Map of Prague

MapaTrasa
1Lesser Town borders
2Petrin borders

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Updated 01-01-1970 01:00