Wallenstein Garden and Palace
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History and What to Look For
The Wallenstein Garden takes it’s name from the adjacent Wallenstein Palace (now the home of the Czech Senate). As one of 4 or 5 families that supported the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand II during the 30 years war, the Wallensteins were gifted this land after the Catholics took control of Prague in 1621. Albrecht Wallenstein was especially favoured as he was the military commander in chief of all the Imperial forces at that time.
By 1623 construction had begun on the palace which required the destruction of 26 houses that had stood here and a complete reconstruction of others. Mostly Italian architects and designers were involved with the building and garden structure so it has a very Italian style, especially the garden. The project was completed by 1630.
The three main parts to Wallenstein Garden and Palace Building:
Main Palace Building
Inside the Palace building are the Main Hall, St Wenceslas Chapel and Audience Chamber which are accessible to the public with permission.
Sala Terrana (Loggia)
Opposite end of the garden from the Riding School, it’s a huge atrium decorated with frescos. It would have been a grand place to take a meal overlooking the garden and now hosts outdoor concerts. Today, in front of the Sala Terrana is a terrace with a fountain but in 1834 Langweils Model shows this as two separate ponds.
At the far end of the complex adjacent to the pond bordering the Malostranska metro station garden is the Riding School. Originally part of the Palace Building it has since been separated and is now part of the National Gallery.
Add to that the ornate pond, manicured garden, aviary, molten wall and a selection of peacocks roaming around and you should get a picture of 17th Century decadence.
What do I like Best?
In the Summer I try and end the Prague City Walking Tour at this location. As you go through the rear entry gate next to the Riding School the first thing you see is the large pond and shortly after, the view over the main palace building up to Prague Castle. Nice to sit on the low wall watching the massive fish and maybe a peacock or two.
The End of Albrecht
Albrecht Wallenstein did not spend much time at the palace as he was frequently travelling during the war years. As with many military leaders, eventually the Emperor saw him as a potential threat and had him assassinated in 1634. The property was not confiscated and his widow sold it to a nephew so it stayed in the family right up to 1945. After this it became State property.
Where Is it?
It’s in the Lesser Town. From the Rudolfinum, walk across the Manes bridge and you’ll have a grassy area on your right. Opposite is the entry to the Malostranska Metro. The red stars on the map show the entrances with one halfway along Letenska and the other at the side of the Malostranska metro station. If you need directions then check the Google Maps link https://goo.gl/maps/hpkWq3qtpQy
Classical Music Festivals
During the summer Wallenstein Garden hosts classical music concerts mostly on Thursday afternoon (5pm) and occessionally on Saturday afternoon (2-30pm).
Wallenstein Garden Entry Restrictions
The Wallenstein Garden is open from the beginning of April to the end of October. The regular weekday opening hours are 0730-1800 (Weekend 1000-1800) although from June to September this increases to 0730-1900 (Weekend 1000-1900). It can also close unannounced for a variety of reasons and/or VIP visit to the Senate and they do not publish these closures in advance.
Wallenstein Palace Entry Restrictions
Opening times vary depending on the season and the areas of the palace but you can assume that anything which is publicly accessible is always open 10am-4pm and will open longer in the summer months. The Wallenstein Palace has free-entry “Open Door” days on May 8th and October 28th.
If you stay at the Hotel Royal Palace then ask for a room at the front of the building and on the second floor or higher for a spectacular Castle/Palace view.