Rieger Gardens (Riegrovy sady)
This park, over a century old, shelters intimate nooks and places with wooded areas, open grassy areas, unusual vistas of the city and a large garden restaurant with comfortable seating in the shade of chestnut trees. Vineyards used to be located here, and all that remains today are parts of the original buildings: the Classicist lookout from the 1920s, renovated into a restaurant, and a three-sided obelisk of sandstone from around 1840.
Rieger Gardens (Riegrovy sady) is a park with an area of 11 ha, located among the streets Polská, Chopinova, U Rajské zahrady and Italská at altitude that differs from 127 to 170 metres. The gardens originated in 1902 by linking the former garden called Kanálka and the gardens of several homesteads: Saracinky, Švihanky, Pštrosky and Kuchynky. Mostly they were former vineyards, e.g. the Andělka vineyard, named after the famous medieval pharmacist Angelo from Florence, where in 1783 Count Josef Emanuel Canal built a farm for noble animals breeding and an experimental plant station with an orangery, aviaries, a small zoo, fountains, little lakes and pavilions, which was abolished and parcelled out between the years 1901 and 1903. The park itself was established between the years 1904 and 1908 by Leopold Batěk, a garden director at Vinohrady, after purchasing all properties by Municipality of Vinohrady. Planting a natural English-style park in a sloping terrain was rather difficult. In 1938 the area of the gardens was reduced by construction of the Sokol gymnazium with a playing field designed by architects František Marek and Zbyněk Jirsák. It was one of the largest Sokol compounds in the world. During the protectorate it was commandeered by SS troops.
Since their establishment, the gardens they had been named after the Czech politician František Ladislav Rieger. Only during the Second World War their name changed to Smetana Gardens. The park devastated after the war was renewed in 1947.
A well-known building is the former Šťastný’s pub, rebuilt in a modern style in 1934, which was called after its tenant the Šretr’s Restaurant (Šretrova restaurace). After the war, various school buildings were built there, especially at the site of the former Garden of Eden (Rajská zahrada), which was a store garden of the city of Prague founded by František Thomayer. Up to now, the remnants of the original buildings have been preserved there: a Classical lookout tower from the 20s of the 19th century that has been reconstructed and now it serves as a restaurant, a three-sided obelisk of sandstone from about 1840, allegedly a memorial to a duel between two officers for a girl.
The park is characteristic of open meadows, vistas and a view of Prague, intimate nooks and forest-like places.