It was in April one of my colleagues visited the lovely historical city of Prague and I was very envious. Prague is one if those cities that does not disappoint expectations. Just a mere thirty years after communism it's a vibrant city with a youthful energy that embraces its history from centuries ago.
The iconic palaces on the hill with the imposing Saint George's Basillica have been lovingly restored over the last hundred or so years. It was back in the 1911 that architect Josef Plecnik started restoring the palaces and gardens.
Between 1911 and 1920 Plečnik found himself in Prague, the capital of what was then Czechoslovakia, it became Czechoslovakia after World War One, and the new nation-state needed a powerful symbol. Josef Plečnik was entrusted with creating this, and was put to work on Prague Castle as the Castle Architect. This was the biggest undertaking of his professional life and took some 15 years to complete.
Plecnik designed new staterooms for the presidents and officials, along with gardens. Even through two world wars and thirty years of communism the palace and a lot of the gardens are still very much restored and still honor the vision of Plecnik.
Plecnik added unusual yet stately monuments to the repaved courtyards, making the area harmonious for visitors and pedestrians. The defensive walls of the castle were thoughtfully turned into the Paradise Garden, entered through the mythical Bull Staircase, a splendid place full of massive urns, climbing ivy, small pyramids, gazebos, and majestic views. The garden and the courtyards showcase these odd monuments, material objects that did not appear in the Prague Castle until the 1920s, that somehow blend perfectly with the old architectural elements to create balance.
Prague also offers a wide selection of green space and one such place is behind huge walls and surrounded by low rise residential apartments. It's a lovely garden, affectionately known to us tourists as the peacock garden. You might be lucky and see them being fed by fellow tourists.
Again the gardens and the green spaces of the city is what makes Prague so appealing to everyone. It really is one of those city that embraces history and we loved learning about Josef Plečnik and his contribution to the architectural world.