In the past a Renaissance palace terraced garden existed on the slope behind the Ledeburg Palace. Most probably prior to 1710 Marie Karolína and Leopold Antonín Trautmannsdorf began to build a Baroque garden there. The first to be constructed was a sala terrena believed to be designed by Santini or Alliprandi, although some historians tend to ascribe it to the architect Kaňka. Dating from 1730, the painting decoration of the hall depicting scenes from the classical mythology is the work of Reiner. The sala terrena opens by means of a column arcade onto a parterre with a fountain in the central part; on the opposite side the parterre is closed by a huge wall with a double-flight of stairs and a fountain adorned by a statue of Hercules. This part of the garden obviously originated within adaptations carried out by Palliardi between 1787 and 1797 which were commissioned by Josef Krakovský of Kolowraty.
The north side of the parterre is formed by a huge retaining wall from which the climbing terraced part of the garden continues. The wall was originally adorned by a fresco on the theme of a battle between the Romans and barbarians created by Reiner most probably around 1716 (other sources date it to 1730). In 1797 Reiner’s fresco, by then destroyed, was replaced by a replica created by Machek, which perished in 1940 when the retaining wall collapsed. Today the reconstructed wall is covered in trellis-work with rambling plants. The seven garden terraces are interconnected by double-flight and axis stairs lined by plants. They run towards a pentagonal pavilion situated in
Text by Hana Pešinová
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has long attracted artists and wandering spirits, although it was originally inhabited by prehistoric fish. Their inland sea filled the basin contained by the Tatras and Carpathian mountains, but when it eventually dried up they were forced to yield the terrain to dinosaurs, wooly mammoths and Neanderthals. In human times the Celtic tribes came to reside here, leaving remains dating back to the 4th Century B.C. Their tribal name, Boii, gives the root of the word "Bohemia". The three separate territories of Bohemia, Silesia and Moravia now make up the modern Czech Republic, which split from Slovakia in the 1993 "Velvet Divorce." Thanks to its enigmatic founder, the city of Prague derives a magnetic appeal for visionaries, scientists and astronomers. The historical figure credited with the launch of Prague is Princess Libuse, a visionary prophet and warrior who once stood atop the hill at Vysehrad and made the prophecy as follows, "I see a vast city, whose glory will touch the stars!" This indeed came to pass after she took Otokar Premysl to be her husband and King, launching the Premyslid dynasty, and leaving it to rule for the first four hundred years of Czech history. When the last Premyslid king, Wenceslas III, died without producing a male heir, the fourteen year-old John of Luxembourg came to take the throne of the Czech lands. Hot-headed John died in battle, but his diplomatic son Charles IV inherited the throne and, through keen multi-lingual savvy, managed to both keep it and earn the title "Father of the Czech Nation." Charles IV was the first of the Holy Roman Emperors here; he ruled during the height of Prague's elegance and splendour. This is the man to know if you want to understand Prague's layout. He sponsored the construction of such landmarks as the Charles Bridge, the Hunger Wall and St. Vitus' Cathedral, as well as personally designing the neighborhood called New Town (Nove Mesto) which has for its center Karlovo Namesti or Charles Square. The city displays every branch of architecture across the last thousand years, including Cubism, a style which you will be hard-pressed to find applied to buildings anywhere else in the world. Beyond the stunning visual makeup of the city, there is a wealth of nightlife and entertainment, beginning with the legendary concert halls including the Rudolfinum, National Theater, Estates Theater and the Municipal House. After investigating the Castle and Bridge, which are the most heavily-trafficked tourist areas, take a look around Zizkov and Letna, two of the cooler neighborhoods for bars and restaurants. However quiet it may seem after ten PM, Prague is alive and throbbing in an endless array of basement bars, pubs, clubs, discos and pool halls waiting to be discovered by the intrepid subterranean adventurer. To get an idea of what lies in store, check out the panoramas for Chateau and Palac Akropolis and when you're out and about, make sure you look for the stairs down to the cellar. Apart from shopping, eating, drinking and wearing out your digital camera, delve into the rich green carpet of Prague's parks, many of which lie only walking-minutes from the city center.Text by Steve Smith.