National Museum’s park has been renovated

The park has long been overgrown and considered unsafe by locals

The park surrounding the National Museum has been renovated to make it safer and more attractive.

The changes go along with the newly cleaned facade and renovated interior of the historical museum building, which opened to the public Oct. 28.

The investment by Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) was under Kč 150 million, including new tram tracks between the historical and new buildings of the National Museum. The Prague 1 district also contributed.

Čelakovského sady, the park next to the National Museum, had long been dirty and overgrown, and used as a hangout by drug users and other undesirables. Most Prague residents have been avoiding the park as it was generally thought to be unsafe.

“The surrounding area of the museum is a beautiful example of the fact that when people talk, a pleasant, modern and quality space can be created. We are working to make fix similar places such as Karlovo náměstí or Malostranské náměstí,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (TOP 09) said.

The park has a newly planted lawn and new furnishings including benches and historically inspired lamp posts, along with a small dog meadow to make it more attractive for walks and in warmer weather for spending some time.

Many of the changes will not be evident until the spring. Landscapers have planted thousands of new flowering plants, for example.

“We drew on the best traditions of Czech flora. Each part [of the park] has its own theme and composition,” landscape designer Ondřej Fous said, adding there will be irises, violets, tulips and daffodils among other flowering plants.

Architects from IPR working with landscape designers have also planted 60 trees using special methods to help them survive in the inhospitable conditions. They have provisions to make watering them easier and are surrounded by new substrate.

The trees are for more than just looks. “Revitalizing the space around the National Museum shows that it is not easy to plant trees everywhere. But where possible, there are many ways to help the trees. A healthy tree, besides the ornamental function, also has a cooling effect during the summer,” IPR director Ondřej Boháč said.

The site linking the museum area with Vinohradská Street is part of a cultural district. In the spring there are plans to place tables and chairs, and possibly a mobile cafe.

The renovation of the park was part of the overall plan to renovate and revitalize the National Museum on the top of Wenceslas Square, and integrate the area into its surroundings.

The Historical Building of the National Museum had been closed since 2011, but the renovation work did not start until 2015.

Only part of the interior is finished, and people will be able to see two exhibitions related to the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia and the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the museum for free until the end of the year.

In addition to the exhibitions, a cafe is open in one of the courtyards and there is a bookstore.

When finished, the building will have about 30 percent more exhibition space than previously as it will no longer have offices, administrative areas or depositories.

Work on the interior will continue into 2019, with more spaces opening starting in February.

Permanent expositions will open to visitors in autumn 2019. During the year, other halls will open for temporary exhibitions such as one on Great Czech Composers.

Previously the building did not have public elevators, but now it will be more accessible for people with disabilities.

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