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Valdštejnská Zahrada highlights

October 29th, 2007

prague valdtejnska park_4Outside Valdtejnská Zahrada Garden
Wallenstein Palace is just behind the gardens, accessible through a door at the northwest corner (to the right of the colonnade state. Built around the medieval “Trackovsky dum” house, bought by General Wallenstein in 1621. Its interior is Italian, perhaps because the finished design was conceived by the Italian architect Andrea Spezza. Portals and Netherlandish dormer-windows are set into the horizontal facade with its rows of window aedicules. The ceremonial Knights’ hall is decorated with a fresco of the Apotheosis by Italian artist Baccio del Bianca. The palace chapel, rising up through both floors of the building, is decorated with scenes from the legend of Saint Wenceslas. Highlights include the scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the Astronomical-Astrological Corridor featuring allegories of the seven planets, four continents and symbols of the zodiac.

Vald Garden is actually a good first stop in the morning on your way to tour Prague Castle, whose long stone stairway up to the castle complex is around the corner from the Letenska entrance (left out the door and left at Klárov Street).

Take Letenská Street (left out the door) and cross Mánesuv Bridge for some romantic view of Charles Bridge to the south. Then continue across the bridge into the old Jewish Quarter to visit the Old-New Synagogue (a great tour for non-Jews particularly). Down the street is the Jewish Cemetery, where you can see centuries of tombstones stacks vertically like books in on a shelf.

The Charles Bridge lies south along the winding Letenská and back up Mostecká. The Bridge is host to all things kitschy, including street performers that run from the “They should be playing London’s Paladium” to “They should be thrown off the bridge.” In years past the art jewelry and leather products were well made and inexpensive; today most everything is cheap junk that you could make better yourself at home. But look for some fine art along the bridge, especially watercolors and ink etchings capturing some of Prague’s famous architectural sites.

For more on what you can find and do in Prague, jump to its city page.

prague valdtejnska park_6Directions (finding!) Valdtejnská Zahrada Garden
I tease about how difficult the garden is to find. It’s only difficult after you’ve stumbled upon it the first time, and go out looking for it the next day but have forgotten your map! The problem is that even the latest Prague city map (I was there last in July ’06) available through hotels, hostels and long-term apartment rental agents, do not label the park.

Vald Gardens are private gardens, but they are open to the public during seasonal months (April 1 to Oct. 31 from10:00 am to 6:00 pm). The palace is open and free to the public all year on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 p.m.

Valdtejnská Zahrada is in the Malá Strana section of Prague, on the left bank of the Vltava River, near the foot of Prague Castle. The main entrance to the park is along Letenská Street, about halfway between Klárov Street to the east and Malonstranské Square (at St. Nicholas Church) to the southwest. The Malonstranská metro stop (green line) is around the corner from Letenská Street, on Klárov Street. The park has posted hours, open the summer months at 9 a.m., and except when paid concerts take place, closes at 6 p.m.

The most direct route is to cross the Mánesuv Bridge (the first bridge north of the more famous Charles Bridge) up by the Jewish Quarter, and walk forward on Letenská Street, keeping to the right side of the street (hugging the high wall). Just after the wall curves left, you’ll find the park’s entrance chopped into the wall. The Charles Bridge is the likely route you’ll take from across the river, so walk up Mostecká Street to Josefská Street (a block beyond the western bridge tower) and turn right, then turn right at the next street, Letenská. Stay to the left-hand side of the street and just before the wall curves to the right, you’ll find the door.

(return to the Valdštejnská Zahrada main page here)

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