Zahrada

PALACE GARDENS BELOW THE PRAGUE CASTLE

The south-facing slope of the hill which is crowned with the Prague Castle complex had, especially, a defensive role during the construction of the fortified settlement. According to historical records, 1241 was the year in which one of the fortification systems was created.

When at the start of the 16th century the role of the whole defensive system ceased to be of primary role, and gradually, the ramparts were partially pulled down, the open space was the cause of numerous disputes. The royal interest in the fortification space stopped being decisive, and there was awakened an interest of the municipal council. The council began to sell these pieces of land, and put the new property rights in the municipal registers kept in the Lesser Town Hall. Gradually, these pieces of land, gardens, and vineyards were bought up by aristocracy and rich burghers. Some houses standing there earlier were often overtaken as outbuildings of the purchased structure. A lot of these houses were not permanently inhabited, but they served only temporarily. Thus, they became a hiding place for various mischievous people, but also – and this was, in particular, after the Battle of the White Mountain (after the year 1620) – for the then persecuted non-Catholics.

Formation of bigger units meant a gradual extinction of small and smaller utility gardens. Only vineyards remained the longest. For example in 1580 a big garden (present Fürstenberk Garden) was created, another big garden was created behind the present Pálffy Palace. Although the vineyards remained the longest behind Ledeburg Palace, but gardens located in lower places also disappeared, and in 1624 there was created a large garden there.

All these gardens were developed in humility of Renaissance gardens of the Italian type. They predominantly became a place of delight and diversion. They became a prestigious matter of their owner, too.

When the gardens had been again restored after the Swedish devastation (following the conquer of the Prague Lesser Town by Swedes on 5 August 1648), which required just the prestige of the rich and powerful of both the aristocratic and also burghers´ owners, the existing austerity of Renaissance of the Italian style was abandoned, and Baroque adaptation followed. Rich decoration of balustrade terraces with sculptures, monumental stairways separating the garden into symmetrical halves and ending with a loggia, fountains and water jets. Transition elements between gardens and palaces are sala terrenas, pavilions, and galleries. The system of steep stairways makes the terraces accessible from which there are charming views of the Lesser Town and the cityscape. The gardens have been separated from the neighbours with huge walls.

In this way, a continuous stretch of gardens came into existence, the total layout of which has been preserved up to the present day; it is formed from the north by the Ledeburg Garden, the Small Pálffy Garden, the Large Pálffy Garden, the Kolowrat Garden, and the Fürstenberk Garden.


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Updated 01-01-1970 01:00