Marl from quarries on Petřín Hill was used as construction material. The purpose of the construction was to strengthen the fortifications of Prague Castle and Malá Strana against any attack from the west or south. Originally the wall was 4-4.5 metres high and 1.8 metres wide and was equipped with battlements and (probably) eight bastions.
The wall was repaired in 1624, further strengthened in the middle of 18th century and repaired or modified several times later (in modern era in 1923-25 and 1975). One of preserved bastions serves as a base for the dome of Štefánik Observatory.
The name and associated myths
The wall was originally called Zubatá (with teeth) or Chlebová (bread like). The adjective Hladová (hunger) appeared after a 1361 famine, when the construction of the wall provided livelihood for the city's poor. According to myth, the purpose of the wall was not strategic but to employ and thus feed the poor. Another myth, recorded in writings of Václav Hájek z Libočan or Bohuslav Balbín, is that the Emperor Charles IV himself worked on the wall several hours every day "to help his beloved people".