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Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

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Sneak-A-Peek Oddity: The Paternoster

Published on October 25th, 2012 in Sights

A “paternoster” is a dying breed of elevators that consists of a chain of open compartments that moves slowly up and down in a loop without stopping, so that passengers simply hop on or off as required. The name Paternoster (“Our Father,” the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer) was originally applied to the lift because it’s in the form of a loop of rosary beads, which are used as an aid in reciting the paternoster (thank you, Wikipedia!). These oddities were first built in 1884, and the first one was installed in Prague in 1914. They were popular through the first half of the 20th century, because they could carry more passengers than an ordinary elevator. The construction of new paternosters, however, is no longer allowed; due to the high risk of accidents (mostly people tripping or falling while entering and exiting). So, as the number of working paternosters continually decreases, they have achieved something of a cult status – especially among nostalgic types like me. Be sure to seek one out during your visit, as they are truly a sight to behold, and if you find yourself suitably brave and agile, take a leap of faith and enjoy the ride.

 

 

 

One Good Place Where You Can Brave A Working Paternoster:
Palác YMCA
Na Poříčí 12, Prague 1, Nové Město
tel 224 875 811
metro Náměstí Republiky
tram 5, 8, 26, 14 to Náměstí Republiky

 

The paternoster is on the left, directly beyond the reception desk. Walk in like you belong there, hop on, hop off, and exit…

 

 

 

 

 

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