This large park, with three majestic tree-lined avenues that served as entertainment and hunting for Renaissance aristocracy, is today a place where you go for walks with the dogs to relax, jog, ride a bike, ski or play on the playground. The area has maintained its atmosphere, thanks in part of the summer palace with its atypical six-pointed star (hvězda) shape – from which both the park and the palace get their names.
- Hvězda Game Reserve (Obora Hvězda)
- 160 00 Praha 6
Nearby Bílá hora, there is a game preserve named Hvězda (Star) spread on 86.5 ha; the original name was Nová (New) to distinguish from the Royal Game Preserve in Bubeneč. It is situated 320 - 370 m above sea level. It was established by Ferdinand I on a land plot belonging to the Břevnov Monastery in a forest named Malejov in 1534. It was used for royal game hunting, festivities, as well as diplomatic visits, and therefore it was enclosed by a wall with the Břevnov and the Liboc Gates. Ferdinand of Tirol, younger son of Ferdinand I and a governor in Bohemia initiated a construction of a summer house on a ground plan of a hexagram. He donated the summer house to the daughter of a rich businessman, Filipina Welserová, with whom he got secretly married.
The game preserve, unfortunately, also served military purposes. On the 8th November 1620, the notorious Battle of Bílá hora took place by a wall of the game preserve, in a place named Světlička, and ever since then, every time foreign armies invaded Prague, the game preserve has always been used as a military camp and it was plundered. A pheasantry was established here in the 18th century, together with the summer house being modified, upon an instruction of Joseph II, to a gun powder storage place, and this state was maintained until 1874.
In the 19th century, the game preserve was the destination of the popular July Margaret Fairs. The tradition dates back to 1262, when in a time of great drought a procession wandered from Hradčany to the Břevnov Monastery with remains of St. Margaret, donated to the St. Vitus Cathedral by Přemysl Otakar. After the procession, it actually started to rain. And so the fairs to honour St. Margaret continued every year and kept drifting away from the Břevnov Monastery, and kept getting merrier and louder, until they finally settled here. The last one was held here in 1910.
Today’s style of the game preserve mostly originated in 1797, when it was changed into an English park with three alleys. The surroundings of the summer house were arranged in 1937 according to architect Josef Sokol. Since 1993, the game preserve has been gradually revitalized according to designs of architect Pavel Šimek. In May 2001 the planting of approximately 7000 new trees instead of old and unsuitable kinds was completed. There is a majority of beech trees, oak trees, fir trees, and hornbeams. A greater part of the game preserve is situated on a plain, only a small part in the West contains a steep slope. That is where the streams starting by the summer house merge. One of the streams is named Světlička (Světluška - Firefly). Further on, there is also a meadow with a swamp. There are three main roads leading through the game preserve, joining together at the summer house. There are four gates in the enclosure wall: Liboc, Ruzyně, Břevnov (Prague) and Bělohorská Gates. Opposite the Liboc Gate, there is a stone statue of Jan Roháč of Dubá by Alois Sopr from 1960, and by the Northern wall, there is a statue of a female Hussite warrior by Jan Jiříkovský from 1959.
The summer house and the Hvězda game preserve were recorded in the list of national cultural monuments in 1962. The game preserve is accessible for public throughout the year.