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Palace Gardens under Prague Castle (Palácové zahrady pod Pražským hradem)

This complex of interconnected historical gardens (Ledeburg, Small and Large Palffy, Kolovrat and Small Fürstenberg Garden) is situated on the southern slopes below Prague Castle. All of these palatial terrace gardens have a rich architectural decoration, decorative staircases, balustrades, scenic terraces, garden-houses and pavilions carefully integrated into the vegetation to create a picturesque whole. Concerts and social events are often held here.

Palace Gardens under Prague Castle (Palácové zahrady pod Pražským hradem), Valdštejnská 12 – 14, Praha 1 - Malá Strana, 118 00
Web: http://www.palacove-zahrady.cz/, http://www.npu.cz, e-mail: palacovezahrady@npu.cz
tel.: +420257214817

Opening hours

April

Whole week
10.00 – 18.00

May – September

Whole week
10.00 – 19.00

October

Whole week
10.00 – 18.00

Entrance fee

basic

90 CZK

reduced

60 CZK

family

240 CZK

Object history

The Southern slopes under the Prague Castle premises above Valdštejnská Street are the location of terrace Baroque gardens established in place of vineyards or Renaissance gardens by the spectacular noble palaces. In the direction from the square Valdštejnské náměstí towards Klárov, there are the following gardens: Ledeburg Garden, Lesser and Greater Pálffy Gardens, Kolowrat Garden, Lesser and Greater Fürstenberg Gardens. All the gardens have been restored and newly replanted. The Langweil’s model of Prague from 1826 - 1836 (today situated in the Museum of the Capital City of Prague) served as a very good model for the restoration of the gardens, as it documented their appearance most completely. All the palace terrace gardens have rich architectural decorations, decorative staircases, balustrades, observation terraces, gloriettes and pavilions composed into picturesque units together with the vegetation. During the summer seasons, they are opened for public in their representative state. Concerts and different social events are held in these gardens.

Ledeburg Garden

is located behind the Ledeburg Palace, house No. 162, and spreads on 0.18 hectares, 205 - 230 m high above sea level. It is also called the Trautmannsdorf Garden, after its founders, Marie and Leopold Trautmannsdorf. The garden was established in 1697 during a reconstruction of the palace carried out by Giovanni Santini Aichl or Giovanni Battista Alliprandi. In 1787 it was acquired by the Kolowrats, and it was modified in Baroque style by Ignác Jan Palliardi.

The garden is divided into two parts. The lower part is situated on a plane, spreading as wide as the palace, and the upper part has half the width and the slant terrain has been modified into five terraces, permeated via an extended steep staircase, terminated via a small octagonal pavilion - a gloriette, built in 1787 at the time of Josef Kolowrat. There is a sala terrena in the lower, parterre part of the garden at the Western front, which used to be decorated by wall paintings. Today, the sala terrena serves the purposes of a concert venue. On the opposite Eastern side, there is a scenery wall with a double staircase and a fountain with a statue of Hercules fighting a several-headed hydra (probably a copy of the original sculpture from the first quarter of the 18th century). There is another fountain in the central part of the green parterre area. The garden is decorated with a female act named Fertility (Plodnost) by Jan Štursa from 1920. There is a supporting wall between the lower parterre and the terraced part, which was originally decorated with Reiner’s fresco. One sundial has been preserved in the garden. By the supporting walls, there are wooden brackets with grapevine and climbing roses, and further on, there are cut evergreen hems, summer annual flowers, as well as plants in terracotta pots.

In the 1950s, there was a complete reconstruction of the garden according to a project of V. Kříž. From 1977 on, the garden was closed for emergency reasons. The last reconstruction was initiated in 1989. Over the years, several professionals participated in the project documentation regarding the garden’s rehabilitation. Their preparation resulted in a project of architect Karel Císař and his team, and the team of a garden architect Květoslav Vlček. Upon the completion of the constructional, technical, restoring and silvicultural works, the garden was festively opened for public in full glory on the 14th June 1995.

Lesser and Greater Pálffy Gardens

Both the terrace gardens of Baroque origin above the Pálffy Palace in Valdštejnská Street No. 158 were established in place of a Renaissance garden of Italian type after Jan Josef of Valdštejn united and re-built two burgess houses with gardens into a palace in 1712 - 1720. After 1731, the property was owned by the Fürstenbergs. The terrace gardens were established in 1751 by Marie Anna of Fürstenberg; we do not know the authors of the project. In 1881, the palace and the gardens were purchased by Eduard Pálffy of Erdöd, hence the name of the gardens. Both the gardens underwent significant reconstruction in the 1950s, but later they had to be modified and relieved of some unsuitable elements.

Lesser Pálffy Garden (0.07 ha) rises up above the former service wing of the palace. It was extensively rehabilitated in the years 1988 - 95 according to the project of architect Josef Lešetický and ing. Václav Pína. Agricultural restoration was realized by ing. Božena Mackovičová. Seven terrace levels of the garden are interconnected via a staircase. At the level of the lowest and the highest terraces, there is an interconnection with the neighbouring gardens - Ledeburg and Greater Pálffy Gardens. The garden has a utility character; the terraces are planted with pear-trees, apple-trees and sour cherry-trees. Grapevine climbs upon the upper supporting wall. Behind the steep staircase in the upper part, there is a small garden with medicinal plants. The Lesser Pálffy Garden was festively opened together with the Ledeburg Garden on the 14th June 1995.

Greater Pálffy Garden spreads in 8 height levels, interconnected in an axis of staircases, alternatively tunnelled and open. In the middle of the lowest terrace, there is a Baroque portal with round pool decorated with a statue of a blowing Triton. On the second terrace, there is a sundial within a Baroque portal. Underneath the clock, there is an inscription on a band: Claret in orbe dies, ac teatras, hora pete umbras - let a clear day in the world scare the gloomy shadows away. Red letters of the inscription, read as Roman numerals, give the year 1751.

There used to be a skittle alley in the garden. As Josef Dobrovský or František Palacký mention, it was a popular place for walks. In place of the original connection with the premises of Prague Castle, there is an oval marble desk, which reads that rehabilitation of the palace gardens was realized with a contribution of the Prague Heritage Fund, under the patronage of President Václav Havel and His Royal Highness Prince Charles. It was in the years 1995 - 1997 according to a project of Václav Girsa and Miloslav Hanzl; the garden modifications were carried out by Irena Bartošová. Greater Pálffy garden was festively opened on the 9th September 1997, and it was added to the observation round of the Ledeburg and the Lesser Pálffy Gardens.

Kolowrat Garden spreads on a steep hill behind the Kolowrat Palace No. 154 on an area of 0.07 hectares. It was established on the bailey of the former medieval ramparts, strengthened by supporting walls, as a terrace with fruit trees. The axis is formed by a narrow, straight staircase connecting seven terraces. In the Eastern part, there is a Baroque fountain with a gargoyle head. The garden is planted with medlars, pear-trees and apricot-trees. The garden was opened for public on the 30th August 2000, following rehabilitation according to projects of architect Václav Jirsa and Miloslav Hanzl, and silvicultural arrangements realized by architect Irena Bartošová.

Lesser Fürstenberg Garden (also the Lesser Černín Garden or the Černín Terraces) used to be a part of the lesser Fürstenberg, former Černín House, No. 155. In the mid-18th century, there used to be a Baroque terrace garden of an Italian type. When it became the property of countess Marie Barbora of Černín, born Schaffgotsche, the house went through an extensive reconstruction carried out by Ignác Jan Palliardi in the years 1784 - 88, which gave the house its current appearance, and at the same time, the architect rebuilt an older Baroque garden into an impressive Rococo terrace garden. It takes up a narrow, but long strip of the slope on the castle hill. The axis has a form of an formidable staircase leading from the gloriette to the observation pavilion, intersected by supporting walls, terraces and balustrades. The gloriette on the ground level, originally containing a bath as well, is painted with grisaille motives with a central genre painting named Swings in the nature (Houpačky v přírodě) and with allegoric paintings of four seasons in the year (perhaps by Ignác František Platzer). There are symmetrically spread orangeries on the second terrace. The staircase is terminated under the Castle’s enclosure wall by a three-piece sala terrena, an observation terrace with a loggia and with plastic stucco articulation, the front of which contains the coats of arms of the Černín and the Schaffgotsch Families. The balustrade is decorated with putti and decorative vases. The staircase leads from here to the observation pavilion with a cylindrical tower, in which Countess of Černín had her bathroom. The last landing of the staircase by the tower allows for access into the Prague Castle Southern Gardens. The garden is characteristic for its climbing roses.

Despite the relatively small extent of the garden, the combination of architectural, sculptural and painting elements with the vegetation on the terraces and the exotic plants in the orangeries provides the best possible effectiveness for the visitors. It is specifically the location under the Castle with a unique view of the town what contributes to the garden’s excellence. In 1997 - 2000, the garden was completely rehabilitated according to the project of architect Václav Jirsa and Miloslav Hanzl, with the silvicultural modifications realized by architect Irena Bartošová. The garden has been accessible for public since the 30th August 2000.

Greater Fürstenberg Garden is situated by the Fürstenberg Palace (Palace of Berka of Dubá, Netolický Palace). It was established by an unknown architect in place of the former vineyards in the 1st half of the 18th century. It consists of two parts - lower plane and rear terraces, intersected via a staircase terminated by a triaxial summer house from the mid-18th century. Modifications were made in 1790 by I. G. Palliardi, and at this time, the fountain with Neptune was founded. In 1822, the garden together with the adjoining palace was purchased by the Fürstenberg Family, and around 1860 they had architect Josef Leibl transforming it into an English park. At the same time, the lower part of the garden was also arranged, in place of the former dumping place, and a fountain was installed here with a sculpture of a boy playing with a stork. The lower plane went through a reconstruction in the 20th century, which was related to the transformation for the Polish Embassy, and the modern modifications were rather of a maintenance character. The upper terraces dilapidated due to lack of care. It was only renewed during reconstruction in the years 2006 - 2008.

The garden spreads on the surface area of 1.55 hectares, it is 130 m wide and the overall height of the ten terraces from the bottom plane amounts to 35 m. It was planted with over 3,500 flowers, 8,500 woody plants, and 2,200 roses. The newly installed lighting allows for evening visits.

Show history