ENVIRONMENT > Prague Nature and City Greenery > Parks and Gardens
The Royal Game Preserve (Královská obora – Stromovka)
The Royal Game Preserve with area of 84 hectares is one of the most important nature and landscape elements, originally being a game preserve, with numerous exotic tree species. This park is typical for a system of lakes originally fed by means of the Emperor Rudolph Water Tunnel. At present the Royal Game Preserve (in the colloquial language called Stromovka) is the largest protected park in Prague, which serves to recreational, sports, as well as cultural and educational purposes.
The Royal Game Preserve "Stromovka" was founded by King Přemysl Otakar II in 1268 and used to be a favourite place of rulers for its picturesque location. At the turn of 16th century a hunter chateaux (later reconstructed several times, for the last time in the pseudo Gothic style in 1836) was built on the location of the current Governor’s Summer House.
The game preserve flourished substantially in 16th century under the rule of Emperor Rudolph II, who let modify the hunter‘s chateaux into a look-out summer châteaux, furthermore, the existing lake was substantially expanded and three other smaller lakes were built for the purpose of breeding of trout and waterfowl, and a pheasantry was established. In order to feed the great lake with water from the Vltava River a tunnel was drifted underneath the Letná Plain, it is called the Emperor Rudolph Water Tunnel. In 1804 the game preserve was opened to the public. At the beginning of 19th century the Rudolph Summer Chateaux was remodelled in the pseudo Gothic style, and the chateaux then become the summer residence of the King Governors, and thus it is called the Governor’s Summer House. In the course of 19th century the whole game preserve underwent changes towards a landscape park, the lake was dried up and its bottom was treated, and a rose garden was established. This was the way as the present system of meadows and forested areas was created. The plantation of introduced tree species and garden cultivars made the Royal Game Preserve an important arboretum.
In 2002 Stromovka was hardly hit by the deluge. The park reconstruction (reconstruction of damaged roads, regeneration of the rose garden, new plantations, etc.) has been still ongoing.
The Royal Game Preserve Stromovka is a very beautiful place for taking walks, there are bicycle routes running through the park, and many of its roads can be used for in-line skating. From the terrace of the Governor’s Summer House there is a lovely view of the panorama of the northern parts of Prague. Last year a newly reconstructed children playground was opened in Nad Královskou oborou Street.
City Districts Prague 7 and Prague 6
May be visited freely
Access by public transport and by walk:
- from U Výstaviště Street: stop "Výstaviště" – tramway lines Nos. 5, 12, 14, 15, 17
- from Gotthardská Street: nearest stop "Sibiřské náměstí" - bus line No. 131
- from Pod Kaštany Street along by the Governor’s Summer House
- across the pedestrian bridge from Troja
The Royal Game Preserve and its surroundings:
The Prague City Hall, Environmental protection department, e-mail: email@example.com, phone: ++420 236004246
Points of interest:
1 Governor‘s Summer House, 2 Šlechta’s Restaurant, 3 face of the Emperor Rudolph Water Tunnel, 4 water manager house, Planetarium, 5 former Lake Emperor Rudolph, 6 oak hill (formerly a little island), 7 gamekeeper’s lodge, 8 Gotthard Gate with a memorial plaque (commemorating the opening of the Royal Game preserve to the public), 9 "Small Little Stream" (Malá říčka) – a cut-off meander of the Vltava River, new children playground „Little Chestnut“ (Kaštánek)
Emperor Rudolph WaterTunnel
The Emperor Rudolph Water Tunnel was built upon the order of Emperor Rudolph II in 1583. The tunnel should serve as the water feeder from the Vltava River into the expanded lake in the Royal Game Preserve, which was then fed by rainwater only, through a tunnel underneath the Belveder Hill from the New Mill Weir. Lazar Ercker from Šrefnkelz, Supreme Minemaster of the Kingdom and Jiří Oeder from Ústí, Mine Surveyor were ordered to manage the works. Miners from Kutná Hora were hired as labour force for the works. The drifting of tunnels advanced very slowly, either for the characteristics of rocks, either due to water floods. Tools used for the tunnel drifting were very primitive – hammers, mattocks, various bit chisels and so on (in the tunnel there is a lot of traces of these tools and these also mean how respectful the work is). The tunnel dimensions were about 3.5 x 2.2 m. Shaft depths varied from 33 to 39 meters. The drifting was led from a bottom of each shaft to both sides and thus miners always advanced opposite each other.
The tunnel was completed in 1593, thus the whole construction lasted for ten years. At the tunnel inlet face on the river bank a house for the tunnel subviewer, called miner’s lodge, was built. In the house there is a watergate installed to control water flow rate in the tunnel. The tunnel outlet in Stromovka is in embossed tunnel face bearing the emblem of Emperor Rudolph II and the year 1593.
The Tunnel reconstruction was implemented in 1988–1994. In 2002 the Emperor Rudolph Water Tunnel was flooded with the deluge. The Tunnel was fouled with mad and therefore it was necessary to clean it completely. At present, repairs of the Emperor Rudolph Water Tunnel are completed and the tunnel is in good shape and can feed water to the game preserve, as the need may be. Water manager house near the tunnel mouth was repaired as well.
Governor‘s Summer House
According to the oldest records the hunter’s chateaux, or manor protected by ramparts, was built in the game preserve by the King Přemysl Otakar II in 1261. Later building, which was already the basis for the today’s summer house, was erected from 1495 through 1502 under the rule of King Ladislav Jagiello. Emperor Rudolph II let it rebuilt in the Renaissance style. The present pseudo Gothic resemblance of the house comes from the last reconstruction in 1804 and is connected with the improving of the game preserve and making it open to the public due to efforts of the Highest Burgrave, Count Chotek. Originally, the summer house had farm buildings, which are now turned in to adjoining residential buildings. The premises are now used as the archives of newspapers and journals of the National Museum.
The summer house terrace offers one of the basic views of the Royal Game Preserve and the whole Troja Gorge. It seems like the whole gorge down to the slopes of Troja is continuously filled with trees.
Planetarium is the youngest member of the institution of the Observatory and Planetarium of the City of Prague. Its regular operations were launched on 20 November 1960. Its size makes it one of the largest planetariums in the world and unique to the Czech Republic. In 1991 activities in the astronomic hall called COSMORAMA was resumed. It is a round-shaped hall for audience of 210 persons. The projection area accounts for 843 m2 and is the largest one in the Czech Republic. Systems operated in the hall can create a perfect illusion of being in the space.
Opening hours (in May and June /1.-28.6./, 2007):
- on working days: 8.30-12.00 and 13.00-20.00 o‘clock,
- on Saturdays and Sundays: 9.30-12.00 and 13.00-20.00 o‘clock,
- Closed on Fridays.
Admission is from CZK 40 to 150, depending on the technical demands of the show.
Realised in year 2002-2005:
- Reconstruction of so-called southern limiting wall
- Reconstruction of road network including staircases and walls underneath the little summer castle
- Planting of vegetation on the azalea plain
- (Planned and approved reconstruction of road network in the bottom part of the Game Preserve was not implemented due to the floods.)
- Reconstruction of children playground Kaštánek including the construction of the new service building for maintenance in the Royal Preserve.
- Reconstruction of park roads
- Conversion of the current building for garden maintenance into a refreshment facility is planning at present.