Thursday, July 16, 2009

Valdštejnská Zahrada

Wallenstein Garden, Prague

Valdštejnská Zahrada, or the Wallenstein Palace Garden is the largest palace garden in Prague's Little Quarter. The garden was commissioned during the Thirty Years' War by Albrecht z Valdštejna. Renovated in the 1990's the garden features a large pond with a statue of Hercules in the center. The Palace was only briefly occupied by Valdštejna, and is now the seat of the Czech Senate. Peacocks roam the lawns, and statues built by Danish artist Adrian de Vries inspired by Greek mythology line the pathways. (The original statues were stolen by invading Swedish armies in 1648, and the replicas which stand there today were cast in the early 1900's.)
My favorite part of the garden, and definitely the most unique feature of the garden is wall of stalagmite-esque stucco drippings comprised of caves and holes. Hidden in the wall are also faces, and small carvings such as a frog and a snake. Built into the wall is a large aviary which is home to eagle owls, the larges bird in Europe. Our guide told us that the garden was in a Mannerist style, juxtaposing the natural with the un-natural.
To visit the garden:

The garden is free from April - October daily from 10am - 6pm. It is closed from November - March.
The garden can be easily accessed by taking the Malostranská stop on Metro line A.

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