The enclosed valley along the Botič brook hosts the Průhonice Chateau and the 250-hectare landscape park, founded in 1885 by Count Arnošt Emanuel Silva-Tarouca. Only 15 kilometers away from Prague, it is a perfect spring and summer destination.
Since 2010, Průhonice park is listed as a Czech National Historical Landmark and an Unesco World Heritage site and as a second manor of the Historical Centre of Prague, which has been listed since 1992. The park is bathed by the Botič’ tributaries, the Dobřejovický and Zdiměřicky streams, and harbors more than 1,500 local and exotic plants.
Although a lawyer by profession, Silva-Tarouca was a passionate dendrologist and introduced hundreds of exotic plants into the park. He sold it to the Czechoslovak state in 1927 due to financial problems, and today the park is managed by the Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences and hosts the Cholomuz Botanical Garden.
The Chateau’s current style dates back to the late 19th century, and is the result of multiple reconstructions of the original 13th century Gothic fort. The interior is closed to the public, but some open areas hold permanent exhibitions, such as the Knight’s Hall or the new Conference Hall, and may be rented for events.
Visitors may choose among three routes to explore the park by themselves or with a guide, although off-trail exploration is not permitted.
The basic route spans 2.5 km and takes less than two hours to complete. The other two routes cover 5 and 10 km, respectively, and may take up to six hours. Each route is divided by viewpoints with informational audio panels in Czech, English and German.
Creeks, small waterfalls and limestone cliffs adorned with flowers are the beautiful sights abound in Průhonice park. This beauty is not accidental, but the result of decades of human molding. It’s important to understand the park more as a tree neighborhood to visit with composure, than a wild land in need of taming. However, this varies depending on the chosen route, and the park – although organized – remains organic.
Opening hours change according to the season, but the park is open year-round. In May it will be open from 7:00 to 20:00. Depending on the season, entrance fee for adults range between 50 and 80 CZK, and students from 30 to 50 CZK. Dogs are allowed for a small fee.
Průhonice Park will hold a series of events this Spring and Summer: the Flower Festival on May 13, the Japanese Day on June 3-4, the Open Gardens Weekend on June 11 and the Multi-Music Festival of the Czech Academy of Sciences on June 25.
To get to Průhonice Park, take metro C lineto Opatov, and then bus 363 or 385 to Průhonice. Alternatively, drive via Brno on the D1/E55 highway and take exit 6 via Průhonice.
For a complete calendar of events, calendar of flowering and more information, visit the official website.
Photo courtesy of Průhonice park