The King’s Park, or Stromovka, is a large English-style park in the Bubeneč district of Prague, located in close proximity to Letná and Holešovice. On the northern side, it borders the Imperial Island (Císařský ostrov), from where you can comfortably be transported by ferry to the Prague ZOO or the Troja Palace.
As the name implies, Stromovka was originally a royal hunting park, which was established in the 13th century by Přemysl Otakar II. The park has preserved part of its “wild” character to the present day, so it is no surprise that even people from the most distant parts of Prague come to spend the warmer days here. Over the centuries, the park has undergone many modifications. Of the ones preserved to this day, we can name, for example the hunting (now governor’s) summer house, which towers majestically on a hill above the park. The original Gothic building underwent several reconstructions over the centuries and since the mid 19th century, the then Sovereign began to lend it to royal governors as a summer residence (hence the name)
During the reign of Rudolph II, for example, several new ponds were created. To fill the Great Pond, an impressive project was undertaken to dig the Rudolfova štola, a tunnel beneath Letná, which brought water from the Vltava. Rudolf also had the Imperial Mill (Císařský mlýn), an area which he received as a gift from the Czech Chamber, rebuilt.
Shortly after this, one more summerhouse was built (for Emperor Leopold I), this time in the lower part of the park. This one now goes under the name Šlechtovka, named after the last tenant Václav Šlechta, who until the 2nd World War, run a restaurant there.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the park was opened to the public and gradually, it gained the character of an urban public park. At the end of the 19th century, part of the park was reassigned to the construction of the Prague Exhibition Grounds, but this did not diminish the beauty of Stromovka. Apart from the peace and tranquillity, plus the abundant free space that Stromovka has to offer, it is worth visiting for another reason – the planetarium. The program is set up in such a way as to allow children and adults to select the shows, and apart from classical shows, you can see interesting exhibitions, attend astronomy courses, or listen to some of the exciting lectures.
Stromovka is one of many parks in Prague, where you can hold an out-door barbecue – if the weather allows, do not hesitate to go.Jan