Prague

Royal Gardens & Stag Moat

  Prague Castle ,   Hradčany         more than a year ago
North of the castle walls are a succession of orderly and manicured gardens. They were first laid out in 1534 and are home to the Míčovna or Ball Game Hall, the most ornate sports centre we've ever seen. Further along the eastern edge of the castle area you can find the Renaissance summer palace (Královský letohrádek), where Europe's first tulips, a present from Turkey, were cultivated. The views over the castle and city are great from here.

The Stag Moat (Jelení příkop) below the ramparts of the castle was reopened to the general public by President Vaclav Havel. Despite the name there hasn't been a stag here since ravenous soldiers gobbled up the last of them by the 17th century. The walk, which in parts can be more of a clamber, is worth it for the whole new view of the castle from the gardens. It also takes you past tennis courts, enjoyed by castle employees, and through a beautifully designed and lit tunnel.

The gardens on the southern side of the castle can be entered via steps to the right of the main castle gate. The main garden on the southern side is the ramparts garden (Zahrada Na Valech), which overlooks Malá Strana. The Rampart Gardens are bordered to the west by the Paradise Garden (Rajská zahrada) and on the south to the Hartig Garden (Hartigovská zahrada), which surrounds the Music Pavilion (Hudební pavilon). In the 1920s and 30s the Rampart Gardens were redesigned by Slovenian architect Josip Plečnik. Unfortunately, his work was only seen for a brief time before they were closed to the spying masses, and again, Havel insisted that they be reopened.

Amenities

City centre location

Website

Open

Open 10:00-18:00. Closed from November-March.

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