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Archive for February 7th, 2007

The other day I was in town and had heard that the castle lift had been completed so I went to take a look at it.

To be honest I was both disappointed and not surprised at what I saw. I’ve been visiting this beautiful city for months now and have expressed at different times my thoughts, raves, disappointments and fears of this city and it’s historical preservation, and this is just the next unfortunate architectural misstep to be completed. This carefully laid out and well built structure has the looks of a dumbwaiter, you know those lifts that carry food up to another floor in an industrial restaurant or kitchen.

castle-lift-lj07-jw.jpgThat’s what we got here now to bring paying visitors up to a medieval castle. While it does work as a quick disabled access to the castle and will help ageing tourists get up without incident like I witnessed before, I will never take this as long as I’m able to walk or even crawl. I will be climbing the hill trail or steps every time out of protest of this sad project. Is this what experiencing the old town is about? Being hurled in the air like food in a glass cookie jar?

What is frustrating to me is that his city has wonderful opportunities to improve the city and yet squanders them in unoriginal and uninspiring ways. I was glad to see a local magazine I picked up in a hotel lobby address this same issue and compares this ‘wonderful mess’ to a number of other much more interesting and beautifully built similar lifts of other European cities like in Bern, Salzburg, Budapest, Dresden, Zagreb, and Graz and others, unfortunately no one seems to have done this kind of research beforehand or even get creatively drawn ideas from school children to have a beter idea of presentation. This most basic and ugly single-car funicular structure  trades counter-weight with an iron slab instead of the usual second car. There could have been more then enough room on the hill for two pretty cars, though under these circumstances we just have to be glad there isn’t two of them.

What was really sad was not only did they not care to make the lift blend in more to the historical setting of the castle and old town but they carved out the whole area below the hill next to centuries old buildings with stainless steal railings and paving that shows no interest to match what is already there. My guess is that they are planning to knock that down too and just add another modern and culturally insensitive building in it’s place while developers wait to block the castle view altogether with a new Kolizej building one day.

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