New observation deck in Letná offers picture-perfect views of Prague’s bridges

The ideal place to take a photo of the city is now safer, with a new railing and a wooden deck to stand on

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 17.08.2020 10:26:02 (updated on 17.08.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

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Everyone has seen the image of the bridges in the Vltava river all lined up, with Old Town on one side and Malá Strana on the other.

The spot in Letná park where people can take the photograph has been renovated. People used to have to go out into a trampled and sometimes muddy area next to some boulders to get the best view. In slippery conditions, this could be dangerous.

The space between Hanavský pavilion and the base of the former Stalin monument has been replaced with a wooden landing with a railing with some nearby benches. This will allow a comfortable view and at the same time prevent further destruction of the slope.

People at the Letná view point / via Raymond Johnston

“As part of the efforts of the capital city of Prague to retain rainwater as much as possible, the original asphalt surface, which was already in poor technical condition, was replaced by permeable granite paving. We are doing so in the spirit of our climate change adaptation plan. The view was supplemented by new waste bins and historical benches,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček (United Force for Prague), responsible for the environment, said.

The total costs was 800,000 CZK and was fully covered from the city budget. Letná is undergoing a gradual overall renewal. In the spring, an extensive overall revitalization of the entire eastern part of the park was completed.

letna view
New wooden viewing platform in Letná / via Raymond Johnston

A similar view can be found in front of Hanavský pavilion, but this spot is narrow and often crowded, which can make getting the ideal photograph difficult. Chotkovy sady also has a small view point over the Vltava, but this involves going into the dirt and rocks at the edge of a steep drop off.

Thanks to the Department of Environmental Protection of the City of Prague, Letná park is undergoing a gradual overall renewal. In the spring, an extensive overall revitalization of the entire eastern part of the park was completed.

Another lookout point was also recently renovated, and reopened at the end of 2019. The base of the upper landing platform for a former cable car that went up the cliff to just in front of where the beer garden now is located.

Renovated upper landing of the Letná funicular / via Raymond Johnston

Prague’s first cable car opened on May 31, 1891, and operated until 1916. It was definitively abolished in 1922. It led from the long-gone bridge Most císaře Františka Josefa I., approximately where Štefánikův most now stands, and took people to Letenský zámeček. From 1926 to ’35 there was a moving wooden staircase in the space where the cable car used to run.

In the long run, a half-hectare pond will be created near the Hanavský pavilon and used to irrigate the park and to help combat drought. Construction should start this year.

Hanavský pavilon
Hanavský pavilon in Letná park / via Raymond Johnston

It will be supplied with water from the Vltava by a pump. The project will in part rely on a 16th century irrigation tunnel built by Emperor Rudolf II, with water pumped up into the pond through one of the three working shafts.

A similar pond was in the original 19th century plan for the park, made by landscape architect František Josef Thomayer, but never built.

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