Places to See in Prague Part III: “The City of a Hundred Spires”
During the month of November, the Prague Summer Program’s blog has focused on must-see attractions in Prague for creative writers considering signing up for the with PSP. Our final entry of the month will give a few more suggestions that we hope will take your breath away when the time comes to visit “the City of a Hundred Spires.” Most of the spires you’ll see on Prague’s horizon are nameless houses or minor churches and cathedrals while the most prominent tower is St. Vitus cathedral which forms the silhouette of the Prague Castle. In a nontraditional take, we bring you two modern spires and one out-of-town spire.
Petřín Lookout Tower
Built in 1891, the Petřín Lookout Tower is 63.5 meters tall with two winding, 299-step staircases for visitors that appreciate the journey as much as the destination, but there is an elevator for those who wish to visit one of the two observation platforms without the brisk hike. The steel-framework tower, as you might gather from the design, was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris and was built such that its tip is at the same altitude as that of the much taller Eiffel Tower. It was used as a transmission tower until 1992. The Petřín Lookout Tower will give you a bird’s-eye view of the city that is sure to make your study abroad in Prague feel complete.
Žižkov Television Tower
Construction of the Žižkov Television Tower began in 1985. The tower was completed in 1992 and, as you might have guessed, took over the transmission operations formerly run through the Petřín Lookout Tower. Standing 216 meters tall, this high-tech giant provides one of the best views of the city. The observatory is 93 meters off the ground, which places the observatory about 20 meters above the Žižkov Television Tower’s hotel. There’s also a restaurant if you’d like to take in the sight while grabbing a quick bite. In 2000, the Žižkov Television Tower gained new fame when artist David Černý (who is also behind the statue of Freud in the first installment of our Places to See series) installed ten bronze statues of faceless babies crawling up and down the tower, an installation he called, simply, Miminka (Babies). The baby statues caused such a (mostly positive) uproar that they were installed permanently in 2001 and, though they were taken down this past October for upkeep, they should be crawling the tower again during the PSP this coming July.
Charles IV founded the Karlštejn Castle in 1348, and construction was finally completed in 1365 with the consecration of the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Great Tower. The castle was used as a place to keep valuable items—crown jewels and holy relics—safe, and as you wander the castle, we’re certain you’ll see that the Great Tower provided the best security a King and a Holy Roman Emperor could buy. Standing 60-meters high, the Great Tower is a veritable vault in the sky that was exceptionally well fortified.