Five off-the-grid spots in Prague

There are some quiet historical places to cool off among some greenery in the city

Wenceslas Square, Old Town, Charles Bridge and other well-known hubs are full of heat and tourists during summer. And sometimes you just want some peace and quiet.

Luckily, Prague has few green havens around to provide refuge. Exploring them also opens door to lesser known history of the Bohemian Capitol.

Anežský klášter (St. Agnes Monastery)

Standing on the Vltava’s riverfront, right next to Ministry of Industry and Trade, is the medieval monastery of St. Agnes. The vast complex from the 13th century is a burial ground for Czech kings Václav I, Přemysl Otakar II and Václav II. A scene of many supposed miracles and even some ghost legends, St. Agnes Convent stands frozen in time.

Last fall the National Gallery re-opened the monastery’s two gardens to public. Both parts are decorated by statues of famous Czech artists Aleš Veselý, František Bílek, Jaroslav Róna, Karel Malich, Pavel Opočenský, Stanislav Kolíbal, Čestmír Suška, Michal Gabriel and Stefan Milkov. The National Gallery offers guided tours both outside and inside. The gardens are open Sunday to Thursday in the summer from 10 am to 10 pm, and on Friday and Saturday from 10 am to midnight.

Břevnovský klášter (Břevnov Monastery)


A scenic tram ride to Prague 6 takes you to an orchard, behind which sits the oldest male monastery in the Czech Republic.

Occupied by Benedict monks, Břevnov was founded by Duke Boleslav II and Prague bishop St. Vojtěch in 993 AD. According to legend, the two men met at the source of creek Brusnice, on which the monastery is built on. Today the complex provides a roofed fountain, a cascade with a contemporary art gallery, a local brewery and a pub. On weekends 90 minute tours are given of St Margaret's Church, a Roman crypt from 11th century and the Teresian hall. On occasion concerts and happenings are held in monastery’s rooms.

It is also possibility to book room at Adalbert Hotel inside the monastery.

The adjacent cemetery is also interesting, holding graves of renowned Czech philosopher Jan Patočka and musician and anti-communist activist Karel Kryl.

Vyšehrad

Towering over the Vltava river, Vyšehrad is a symbol of the Czech nation. It is easily reachable by metro to the Vyšehrad stop. The green spaces and gardens now offer nice views over the river and tend to be much less crowded than other tourist attractions.

Vyšehrad offers a glimpse into Prague's history, such as the legend of the heroic horse Šemík who jumped from Vyšehrad into Vltava to save his master Horymír from execution.

Built in 10th century, the “higher castle” has changed function and style many times.

You can still do some sightseeing, as the Basilica of Sts Peter and Paul has some notable relics including a bone from St Valentine. It also has a colorful frescoes by Viennese artist Karl Jobst.

The neighboring graveyard is the final resting place of many significant figures from history.

Most famous are composers Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák, and painter Alfons Mucha. There is also a grave for Milada Horáková, who was executed under communism.

You can also access some of the tunnels in the complex. The calm, green fortress is perfect to relax and learn some history.

Park Cibulka

A somewhat rundown park in Prague 5–Kosíře has ominous aura and is great if you truly want to get away and see some wild beauty. Formerly a homestead with a farm, Cibulka dates to 14th century. In the18th century it was bought by a German baron and rebuilt in style of Romanticism. Hidden in its woods are fake castle ruins, statues from Greek mythology and a Chinese pavilion, Cibulka is a forgotten Romantic monument. The most visited spot is a lookout tower resembling a crumbling castle. The 13-meter-tall building is the oldest lookout tower in Prague. After climbing 76 steps, it provides view of whole Motol area. Elsewhere in the wood are statues of Jupiter and Diana, and other hidden treasures. While there have been some attempts to renovate the park since 2000, it remains overgrown and wild.

Franciscan Garden (Františkánská zahrada)

Right off of Wenceslas Square is a small garden with several shaded benches. Entry is from the back of the Světozor passage or from Jungmannovo náměstí. Arches covered with roses and a fountain with a bronze sculpture of a boy set a quiet mood away from the noise and bustle just a few yards away. There are other sculptures as well, and flower beds. People from nearby offices often come to have their lunch or take a break during the day. The garden was originally used by Carmelites and the Franciscans, who used it to grow herbs and spices. The nearby Church of Our Lady of the Snows, to which the garden used to belong, has one of the highest vaults in Prague at 34 meters. It was supposed to be the second biggest church in Prague, but it was not completed due to the outbreak of the Hussite War. The church along with a monastery of the Carmelite order and the garden was founded in 1347 to commemorate the coronation of Charles IV and his wife Blanche of Valois.

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