Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The shortest Eiffel Tower

Though I've made it a practice this trip to walk everywhere I reasonably could, I could not resist the chance to ride a funicular up a hill to a cluster of buildings, a park, and Petrin Lookout Tower.  The view from inside the funicular was just what you'd expect, but I still enjoyed the ride.

Click on any image to see a larger version.

Petrin Tower was just one of many interesting buildings on this hilltop, but it was the one that motivated the trip.

Viewed from this distance, you can tell it's shorter than the Eiffel Tower, which it was built to resemble.  It is not an exact copy, and it is much shorter than the original, but by sitting on this hill its top is actually at a higher altitude than the original's peak. 

On the way to it, I ran across another children's park that contained a lot of structures and devices on which I would have loved to play, though I can't imagine any of them passing safety muster in the U.S.

The kids sure seemed to be enjoying them. 

Up close, Petrin Tower does a decent job of imitating the Eiffel. 

On paths around it are twenty religious constructs like this one. 

I don't know what they all represent, but many of them were quite lovely. 

The view from atop Petrin Tower is remarkable.  I could see parts of the city that hadn't been clearly visible from any other vantage until now.  In the distance in this shot is what looks like a completely different, modern city of nearly interchangeable high-rises. 

In this picture, a group of buildings shares a parking lot with the name (upside down here) "Silicon Hill."  I assume it's some sort of high-tech area, which is great to see here.

Back on the ground, this nearby odd little chapel was chained shut and unlabeled.  For no particular reason, I rather liked it.  From the rear, it's intriguing.

From the front, it's clear no one has done much with it recently.

The grandest church on the hill, St. Michael's, was different from most of the others I've visited in the city. 

No internal tour was available. 

This little chapel, which sat next to it, was more interesting for the work carved into its facade.

On another side of the small square that three buildings shared was a building called the Mirror Maze.  Along with the maze and a room full of fun-house mirrors, the structure housed a diorama, built originally for the 1891 Jubilee Exhibition in Prague, entitled "Battle with the Swedes on the Charles Bridge." 

Czech history has been neither a particular passion of mine nor a topic I knew much about, so I was intrigued to learn a bit about this 1648 battle. 

A sign advertised a "Magic Grotto," but after following the path to it, I found it deserted.

Too bad.  I'm always up for a magic grotto. 

A nearby building claimed to house some of the magic grotto's stuff, but it didn't appear to be open for business.  It did, though, have these awesome gargoyle planters.

Back down at ground level, I sat for a time on a bench under a beautiful cherry tree and enjoyed the perfect spring day. 

Late tomorrow afternoon, I head to a new city!

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