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Žižkov (Vítkov) Hill

The long ridge forms Žižkov’s natural north border. The name Vítkov is first mentioned in written records in 1348, it is a tribute to Vítek of Hora, a Prague Alderman (1350–1357). The original name was subsequently replaced by Žižkov or Žižkaperk to commemorate the victory of Žižka’s army over King Sigismund on July 14. The southern slope was grown over by vineyards but after the damage they suffered during the 30-year war and other war events, most of them were converted to gardens. At the end of the 18th century, a hexagonal lookout with an access staircase was built at the top, and the hill was gradually developed as a municipal orchard from the 1880’s on. People from Žižkov loved sitting on the grass on a summer day. In 1902, the Town Council proposed a new veranda in the public garden below Vítkov.

The city park offered possibilities superior to those of the overpopulated Holy Cross Hill. The main access route to the “Hill” as Vítkov was commonly referred to, was from Žižkovo (today’s Tachovského) Square.  

A competition for an idea for Jan Žižka’s memorial at Vítkov and conceptual finish of the top of the hill, including the construction of the future memorial hall, was announced in 1913. Three second prizes were awarded: to the team formed by Jan Štursa and Jan Kotěra, to František Bílek and, finally, to the team formed of Vojtěch Sapík – Čeněk Vořech. The third prize was awarded to the design by Ladislav Kofránek and Vladimír Fultner.

The cornerstone of the Jan Žižka monument was laid on June 28, 1920 and tapped by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Only in 1931 was sculptor Bohumil Kafka asked to create Žižka’s equestrian statue which, however, was not installed until 1950 due to the WWII events.

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