Behind Prague Castle

Garden residence (Zahradni rezidence)

The garden residence of Czechoslovak presidents stands on the former site of a greenhouse designed by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer in 1730 – 1731. Prussian gunfire destroyed the the greenhouse in 1757. At the end of the 18th century Antonin Haffenecker converted its remains into the summer palace. This has been preserved in the middle section of the reconstruction done by Pavel Janak in 1946 – 1947.

Royal Garden (Kralovska zahrada)

The Royal Garden originated on the site of former vineyards under the order of Ferdinand I Habsburg in 1534. Belorussian humanist Francysco Skoryna was summoned from Vienna to direct the planting of exotic trees and plants. A monument to him created by Eduard Astafajev and Jurij Kazakov and entitled New World was placed in the park in 1996.

As it grew gradually, the garden had a labyrinth, shooting range, pergola, greenhouse, orangery, fig tree house, pond, and fountains that featured the works of many accomplished sculptors. After the court was moved to Vienna, the garden lost its importance. It was then severely damaged by the Thirty Years War.

In the first decade of the 18th century the garden underwent a Baroque reconstruction. In 1757, however, the Prussian army put it back into a state of disrepair. Among other things, a theatre designed by imperial architect Ferdinand Galli-Bibiena was also destroyed.

In the 19th century the garden was gradually converted into a landscaped park. The garden once again became an area of natural and manmade splendour following the election of T.G. Masaryk as President of Czechoslovakia. It has been open to the public since 2002, when reconstruction work was completed.

Queen Anne's Summer Palace (Letohradek kralovny Anny)

Arcades of Queen Anne's Summer Palace

Queen Anne's Summer Palace (Belvedere) was built by a succession of architects, namely Giovanni Spazio, Paolo della Stella, Giovanni Maria Aostalli, and Bonifaz Wolmut, in 1535 – 1552 and 1556 – 1563. The person responsible for drafting the project, however, is unknown. The summer palace is Bohemia's most beautiful Italian Renaissance building. The structure is a summary of the development of Florentine, Venetian and Roman Renaissance styles that cannot be seen anywhere other than in Italy itself.

During the reign of Rudolph II, the summer palace was used not only for celebrations, but also for observing the stars – celebrated astronomer Tycho de Brahe worked here. In the 17th century, however, the palace was used as a storage facility. In 1779 it was given to the military, which then used it as a laboratory for the production of gunpowder. The army resided here until 1838. In the 1840's the Society of Patriotic Friends of Art (Spolecnost vlastenecky pratel umeni) had the palace reconstructed as an art gallery. Today it serves as an exhibition space.

Pisek Gate (Pisecka brana)

Pisek Gate

Christopher Dientzenhofer built the Pisek Gate (Karlova, Bruska) in the fortifications between the bastions of St. Ludmilla (XVII) and St. George (XVI) in 1719 – 1721 according to plans drawn up by Giovanni Battista Alliprandi. During the demolition of Prague's fortifications in the 19th century only its wall remains as the city disposed of its filling.

Houses no. 4 and 6 (Dvojdum c. 4 a 6)

Houses no. 4 and 6 (post no. 268, 269/IV) were built for Jan Stach and Karel Hoffman, officials of the municipal insurance company. Josef Gocar was the architect and construction took place from spring 1912 to spring 1913, thus at the same time as the House of the Black Madonna, which we saw at the beginning of our tour. A well preserved wooden Cubist pavilion stands in the garden.

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