Průhonice Park reopens after renovation

The park is secretly part of Prague's UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Castle Alpine Rock Garden at Průhonice Park reopens on April 20, after being closed for two years for a Kč 30 million project. The opening will include a presentation, refreshments and a guided walk.

The restoration project was financed mostly by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway aimed at preserving Czech natural heritage. Besides renovations, the project introduced a new, separate tour for visitors and an educational program with information about the garden's plants, history and restoration.

Průhonice Park will hold a series of events this spring and summer, beginning on April 22 with the seventh edition of the Spring Run and following with the Flower Festival on May 13, the Japanese Day on June 3–4, the Open Gardens Weekend on June 11, and closing the season with the Multi-Music Festival of the Czech Academy of Sciences on June 25.

Located just outside Prague, the Průhonice Park and Chateau are a Czech National Historical Landmark. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a second manor of the historical center of Prague, which has been listed since 1992. Prague officials sent in paperwork in the early 1990s to add the chateau and park to the Prague listing, but its status wasn't fully clarified until 2010.

The park administrators have been trying to get out the word that Průhonice is now an official part of the UNESCO site, as there was not a big announcement from UNESCO in 2010 and it isn't even clear on the UNESCO website unless you look at the updated map of Prague site and read through some technical documents of the annual proceedings.

The park was founded in 1885 by Count Arnošt Emanuel Silva-Tarouca who, although a lawyer by profession, was a passionate dendrologist and introduced hundreds of exotic plants into the park.

Today it is managed by the Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences and hosts Chotobuz Botanical Garden and more than 1,500 local and exotic plant species.

The chateau is closed to the public, but some open areas hold exhibitions and others, such as the Knight's Hall or the new Conference Hall, may be rented for events. The exterior is a popular location for wedding photos.

The park offers visitors three routes to explore by themselves or with a guide. The basic one covers 2.5 km and takes less than two hours to complete. The other two routes cover 5 and 10 km, respectively, and may take up to six hours. Each one is divided in viewpoints with informational audio panels in Czech, English and German.

Reach Průhonice by public transport taking metro C (red line) to Opatov and bus 363 or 385 to Průhonice stop, or driving via Brno on the D1/E55 highway until exit 6 to Průhonice.

Opening hours change slightly according to the season, but the park is open all year. In April it will open from 7:00 to 19:00 and in May until 20:00. Entrance fee for adults range between Kč 50 and Kč 80, depending on the season, and for students from Kč 30 to Kč 50. Dogs are allowed for a small fee.

For a complete calendar of events, calendar of flowering and more information, visit: www.pruhonickypark.cz

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