Botanical Garden of the Natural Sciences Faculty of Charles University (Botanická zahrada Přírodovědecké fakulty Univerzity Karlovy)
The garden opened in 1898 and gradually expanded to include an arboretum, greenhouses, ponds and large alpine garden. These parts today along with other outdoor exhibitions, of which the most notable include the azalea and rhododendron exhibition, form a cozy green area in the center of Prague breathing the atmosphere of old times.
September – March
- Whole week
- 10.00 – 18.00
April – August
- Whole week
- 10.00 – 19.30
|August-October (until change of summer time back to Central Eu.)||10am–5pm|
During exhibitions opening hours may differ.
Today’s botanical garden among the streets Benátská, Na Slupi, Apolinářská and Viničná had its historical forerunners. The oldest Prague botanical garden was founded by pharmacist Angelo from Florence in the 14th century at the place of today’s main post office in Jindřišská Street. Charles IV used to attend this garden, too. From the year 1600 the Jesuits had a botanical garden in the place of today’s presidency of the government in the Lesser Town (Malá Strana). The garden was sold after the abolition of the Jesuit order. In 1775 Maria Theresa had a new botanical garden established in Smíchov district at the site of present Dientzenhofer Gardens in today’s V Botanice Street, which was later owned by Prague University. However, the garden suffered from floods and industry and it was abolished in 1902. Therefore the state purchased for the Prague University the former Společenská Garden, which had been located at the site of present Botanical Garden Na Slupi since 1845 and had already had a complex of greenhouses built as exhibition pavilions since 1882. The Společenská Garden was founded by Czech Society for Cultivation of Horticulture (Česká společnost pro zvelebování zahradnictví). In the years 1897 and 1898 the mobile collections were moved there from Smíchov and new greenhouses were built. The botanical garden was then divided between the Czech and German parts of the university. Both parts were ceremonially opened in 1898. New expositions, an arboretum, greenhouses and ponds were built gradually.
After World War II, during which a part of greenhouses and equipment was damaged by bombing, both parts of the garden were united into one entirety named Charles University Botanical Garden (Botanická zahrada Univerzity Karlovy). A neighbouring slope with an area of about 1800 square metres was appended to the garden and a large alpine house was built on it. New greenhouses were built, which served until 1995. Since 1992 the garden had been revitalized and a total reconstruction of the greenhouse complex took place in the years between 1996 and 1998. At present, the glazed area is 1700 square metres; the irrigation, heating and ventilation are operated by computers. The exhibitions varied, only the exposition of grove flora and a rockery made of limestone of Hlubočepy called Karlštejn, both from 1904, plus the exposition of medicinal plants from the beginning of the 20th century have been preserved unchanged. Some original dendrological inventories from the Společenská Garden have been preserved in the arboretum. However, most of them come from the end of the 19th century or from the later period. The exposition of azaleas and rhododendrons is remarkable.
A total measure of the garden including gazed and built-up areas is 3.5 hectares. The altitude difference between the lowest and highest point is 32 metres. A direct administrator of the garden is the Faculty of Science of the Charles University. In the compound of the garden there is a building of its Department of Botany. The garden serves for direct teaching of students as well as for the general public.