Friday, 9 July 2010

The Reconstructed Grotto

An essential part of any grand eighteenth- or nineteenth-century house was the opportunity to show off one's classical education by erecting follies in the surrounding parkland. The gardens of the Grébovka, on the border of Vršovice and Vinohrady, are typical in this regard. On the northern edge of the park, bordered by the attractive residential street U Havlíčkových Sadů, stands this extraordinary mock-Roman arch.

Both the arch, and the 'Gaudiesque' forms that surround it (see smaller picture) are currently being cleaned and refurbished, a process that has already consumed many months of expert labour. The urn-shaped finials of the arch, until recently completely ruined, have been replaced by these new ones complete with artificial palms (are they copper, I wonder?)

The entire structure surmounts a steep chasm, at the foot of which are several more neoclassical arches opening into a grotto. I have a feeling that they may be shortly put to some use. In recent years this extensive park has gained a café, a wine-cellar and a new children's playground. We await with interest the eventual purpose of this grand scheme.

Regular visitors will notice that a few significant changes have been happening recently to the design of this blog. The latest feature is on the right, an excellent new tool from yowindow.com, which allows visitors to see a real-time animated view of the local weather. For added realism, I'm told that the landscape can be replaced with a customized photograph. I shall work on it!

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