The Small Palffy Garden
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Panoramic photo by Jakub Hruska EXPERT Taken 11:50, 24/04/2010 - Views loading...

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The Small Palffy Garden

The World > Europe > Czech Republic > Prague

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This is the smaller of the two gardens situated adjacent to the Pálffy Palace (Valdštejnská Street No. 158). Records show that from the mid-1400s onwards vineyards existed on the site. A period painting dating from 1685 shows a Renaissance Italian-style garden there. Between 1712 and 1720, under Jan Josef Waldstein two burghers’ houses, including gardens, were united and rebuilt into a single structure. In 1731 the estate passed into the hands of the Fürstenbergs through the marriage of Waldstein’s daughter. Around the mid-1700s, on the initiative of Marie Anna of Fürstenberg, the garden was re-arranged into a Baroque terraced garden. In 1883 the palace, together with the gardens, became the property of the Pálffys, originally a Hungarian family, some members of which settled in the Kingdom of Bohemia in the late 1500s. The gardens bear their name to this day. Located on the southern slope, the garden is articulated into seven terraces interconnected by a perpendicular staircase situated rather asymmetrically on the east side. The vegetation there recalls the original utility character of the garden – it is planted with fruit trees (morello cherry, apple and pear trees). In the upper part you will find a small “Krakonoš Garden” planted with herbs and perennial plants. The niche in the retaining wall on the highest terrace is adorned by a sculpture created by Nejdek.

Text by Hana Pešinová

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This panorama was taken in Prague

This is an overview of Prague

  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.

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