Smíchov cable car back in service

The secret lift up to Mrázovka Park has been completely rebuilt

Prague’s hidden cable car is back in service after a renovation. The car, about the size of an elevator, is located at the NH Prague City Hotel in Smíchov and links the main part of the hotel to a second hilltop complex with more rooms, a restaurant and an outdoor cafe.

The old cable car went out of service on Jan. 1, 2018, after almost 22 years, during which time it transported 14 million passengers in 3,735,790 trips.

Once people exit from the cafe at the top of the hill, they are in Mrázovka Park which has a woods with paved paths, nice views of the city and playgrounds. The pleasant walk down the park can leave people at Bertramka, a tourist attraction associated with Mozart.

Due to an agreement with the Prague 5 district, the public can use the cable car for free. Prague 5 Mayor Pavel Richter (TOP 09) said when the renovation was announced that he was pleased the investor came to an agreement with the city district. “Especially for people who are hiking on the hill, it is very popular and well used,” he said at the time.

Hotel director Petr Nešpůrek said before the renovations the cable car would have a different drive that ordinary probably wouldn’t notice, and it would have a more modern, larger cabin. The track was also rebuilt.

The most notable difference after the renovation is that the new car is a metallic gray, while the previous one was red and vaguely resembled a British phone booth. Four metal cables pull the booth sideways up the hill on a fixed track. Paths in the park go under the track, so pedestrians are not inconvenienced.

The upper part of the hotel was completely closed from Jan. 15 to March 9 due to the work on the cable car. The upper hotel rooms were also renovated at the same time.

The total cost of the cable car renovations was under Kč 30 million crowns. The new car was designed by Swiss company Inauen-Schätti. It travels at about 9 km per hour, but the trip is only 156 meters and takes about a minute and a half. The cabin holds 12 people, the same as before, even though it is slightly larger.

The reason for the renovation was that the original cable car had reached the end of its lifespan. Service began in June 1996. When the cable car began service, the hotel was operated by Mövenpick. The cable car was previously renovated in 2001. The original system was designed by the Austrian firm Doppelmayr.

The cable car has been promoted by video maker Janek Rubeš, known as the Honest Guide, as a place to do something special and get away from crowds of tourists at the same time.

To find the cable car, go past the hotel’s bank of standard elevators and head to the right. Gold-tone lettering on a green stone wall points the direction. 

Video on YouTube

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