May 04, 2024

Explore a Hidden Gem: Straka Academy Garden Opens Its Doors to the Public

The public can now enjoy the picturesque gardens of the Straka Academy, the seat of the Czech government, every Saturday from May 4th until mid-October.

As Pražský patriot reports, this marks the third year the gardens have been opened for summer visits, allowing people to explore this beautiful space between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm. The entrance is located on Kosárkova nábřeží in Prague 1.

Following a renovation between 2021 and 2022, the gardens were redesigned to serve not only official functions but also offer regular public access.

“Opening the gardens to the public was a key goal of the renovation two years ago,” said Jana Kotalíková, head of the Government Office. “We’re excited to introduce a new audio guide this season, providing visitors with fascinating insights into the garden’s history and the Straka Academy building itself.”

On May 4th, an open day will also be held at Kramář’s Villa on Letná, accessible from Gogolova Street. Guided tours start at 9:00 am, with the last tour departing at 4:00 pm.

Visitors can download a special app on their smartphones to receive audio explanations about the garden’s layout, plants, and history as they explore designated areas.

The extensive renovation, completed in 2022, adhered to a design created by Krejčiřík Studio in 2008, which drew inspiration from the original architect František Thomayer’s style.

The layout reflects the building’s neo-Baroque architecture and adheres to conservation requirements. The project was co-financed by the European Union’s Cohesion Fund under the Operational Programme Environment, focusing on improving rainwater management and replacing outdated garden surfaces.

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While little remains of Thomayer’s original design besides a single plane tree in the corner, the garden’s alley was restored in 1994 with mountain maples replacing removed trees.

Following damage caused by the 2002 floods, only three maples survived, leading to a replanting initiative using lime trees suitable for urban environments. These new trees are expected to quickly create a desired visual barrier. All restoration work has received the necessary approvals from relevant authorities.

Spanning 17,000 square meters, the Straka Academy Garden sits within Prague’s Lesser Town on the Vltava River’s left bank. It belongs to the former Straka Academy building, which now houses the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic.

The garden is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, along with the Straka Academy itself, is a protected cultural monument of the Czech Republic.

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