Game enclosure Hvězda, or simply Hvězda, is one of Prague’s largest parks and is a perfect place to escape the crowds in the centre. Few tourists visit, eventhough it’s well accessible by tram and subway. In addition, the extensive green space is one of Prague’s most beautiful.
Hvězda, like Stromovka, was once a royal hunting ground that later became a public park. It’s a favourite place with Praguers at any time of year, and because it covers such an extensive area, Hvězda never feels particularly busy. As well as being a beautiful space, the park is a popular recreation spot. The long main avenue and paths attract joggers and walkers and joggers in spring and summer; after heavy snowfalls in winter cross-country skiers are a frequent sight. Hvězda may be a peaceful haven today, but ironically it’s a very short distance from the site where the Battle of White Mountain, a key event in Czech history, was fought in 1620.
Summer house Hvězda (Letohrádek Hvězda), the curious hexagonal Renaissance hunting lodge (from which the building takes its name: Hvězda is Czech for “star”) dates from 1555 and is the centrepiece of the park. It was built was built by Archduke Ferdinand of Tyrol. Inside, the building is noted for its beautiful plasterwork by Italian artists. The summer house Hvězda and the whole reserve is surrounded by numerical symbolism and secrets which are not uncovered up until today. The hexagonal star symbolizes two opposing forces (equilateral triangles) uniting in mutual harmony. The upper triangle symbolizes fire and the lower one stands for water. It is said that the four floors of Hvězda symbolize the elements. The cellar is the earth, the ground floor symbolizes water, the first floor is the air and second floor represents the fire. It is also believed that the symbolism of the place is coded into the original floor tiling.
To get to Hvězda, take tram 22 in the direction of Bíla hora and get off at Vypich or take subway to Petřiny station. When you get there, stretching in front of you will be the very long (710 metres) main avenue, at the end of which is the summer house. You can visit the game enclosure whenever you feel like. However, the summer house itself and the café near the summer house are open from April to October only.