Průhonice Park

 

By Tracy A. Burns

Enjoy the natural splendors of this UNESCO World Heritage site, an English style park not far from Prague. Gaze at the vibrant colors of the floral scenery that encompasses rhododendrons, irises, water lilies, roses and so many more species. Stroll past meandering brooks, breathtaking lakes and vast meadows. Listen to the winding brooks, water cascading over the weirs and the joyous chattering of birds. Become transfixed by the precious views of the neo-Renaissance chateau and lakes from various vantage points.

History

The chateau is the starting point of a visit. While it is only possible to go inside the chateau during special events on weekends, the exterior astounds. Once a Gothic keep, it was transformed into Renaissance style during the 16th century and was restored several more times before being changed into a residence at the end of the 19th century. That was when Arnošt Emanuel Count Silva-Tarouca came here and made the happy choice to plan the lavish park.

Konopiste Chateau Tours from Prague

The Chateau

The chateau’s facade is magnified by Renaissance sgraffito and a foreboding fresco of Saint George battling a dragon. Coats-of-arms are visible in lunettes. Become aware of the leaf-pattern and swirls around the clock. Roses bloom in front of the chateau, and a fountain figures into the design, too. Behind the fountain star magnolia flourishes in the spring. A scarlet oak tree and azaleas also embellish the chateau’s two courtyards. Several arcades make up the intriguing architecture. A terrace on the chateau offers unforgettable views of Podzámecký Lake below.

The Scenery

A walk around Podzámecký Lake is a must. Stroll by ducks waddling on the bank. From the lake there is an astounding view of the chateau with coats-of-arms on a façade. Various flowers adorn rocky slopes. One rock, called the “Mexican rock” is even enriched with cacti. Azaleas and dogwood flank the banks of a brook. A meadow is lined with copper beech trees. A pond with water lilies seems to belong in a painting by Claude Monet. The park also is composed of marshy areas. That is where the unique, large, white and yellow Asian skunk cabbage makes its appearance. Evergreen English holly distinguished by its bright red berries can be found here as can tulips, crocuses, prairie peonies and many other kinds of flowers that provide a myriad of color in spectacular scenery with a tranquil atmosphere.

Rhododendrons and more

Perhaps the most beautiful flower in the park is the rhododendron, flaunting its pink and white colors. There are 160 species and 8,000 of these flowers in the park, many of them in the awe-inspiring botanical garden of Chotobuz on the park grounds. The botanical garden not only is set ablaze by rhododendrons but also offers a spectacular view of the chateau. In addition to the Podzámecký Lake, there is Lake Bořín and Lake Labeška. A traditional Czech cottage is also on the premises.
Escape the bustle of the city for at least part of a sunny day and spend time strolling through nature’s wonders, gazing at a chateau enriched by sgraffito and an imposing fresco. Absorb the dynamic colors of floral species and the tranquil sounds of Průhonice Park, sure to impress every nature lover.


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