Paternoster elevators


It's important to enjoy the small things in life. While some visitors to Prague love the big cathedrals, the splendid vistas and the baroque palaces (and there's nothing wrong with that, of course), we actually have a small, hidden gem, that some of you may enjoy too. Not the latest or the flashiest thing in Prague, or even the oldest or the most valuable things you will see in Prague. But still, it surely has a place in our hearts. Yes, we are talking about the humble, old paternoster elevator. What is a paternoster elevator, we hear you ask? A “paternoster” is an old-timer elevator that consists of a chain of open compartments that move slowly up and down in an infinite loop (which reminds you of a Rosary, hence the title "pater nosher", "Our Father"). To get to the floor you need to get to, you hop in a compartment and, on reaching the required floor, you just hop off. To see what it's about, have a look at this video:

We have also made a small video how a ride in the elevator looks like. We are sorry for the quality: we have made it using the iPhone and it was the first video we have ever made, so we won't win any awards with this one for sure:

You cannot stop the elevator, you cannot call the elevator. This just goes and goes in an infinite loop. With the European Union energy label going from A to G, this would probably get... something like a W: this must be incredibly energy-inefficient, going 24-7, day and night. On seeing one of these, one of our Jewish guests actually suggested it would make a great Shabbat elevator (the Jews may not start any electric current throughout the Shabbat), and we agree.

If you have ten minutes to spare, we really recommend hopping in when you're in Prague because... they're the best ride this side of the Disney World! Don't be intimidated: these are much slower that they look. We would liken this to an escalator - it may be a bit scary when you ride them for the first time, but you become a pro rider very soon.

So if you're in Prague, forget about the hop on, hop off bus and ride the hop on, hop off elevator. We have put together as small map of these gems. You're welcome.

Show Pater nostery on a larger map