Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Vineyard Gazebo

The Vinični Altán (or Vineyard Gazebo) was built between 1879 and 1881 as a summerhouse for the neighbouring Villa Gröbe (Grébovka) by the estate architects Antonín Barvitius and Josef Schulz.  Overlooking the slopes of the vineyard with panoramic views over the Nusle valley, the decorative construction is today a restaurant and wine bar where you can sample the Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Rielsing cultivated on the slopes below.

In February 1945, the buildings on this exposed hillside suffered badly in an Allied bombing raid:  the gazebo, the neighbouring historic bowling alley and rustic grotto subsequently fell into disrepair. Since the vineyard was replanted in the 1990s, however, a massive reconstruction programme has gradually been piecing them all back together again, using original plans and materials. The gazebo itself was rebuilt in 2004 at a cost of 20m crowns (about £700,000 at the time), retaining Barvitius's design, but with a modern glass and stone extension to accommodate its new commercial role.

With its wide terrace and magnificent vista over southern Prague, it has become a very popular venue at all times of year for weddings, as well as other celebrations such as the opening of the new vintage on St Martin's Day. the altán also has a small gallery where exhibitions of contemporary photography are frequently held.

6 comments:

Leif Hagen said...

That's easily the fanciest gazebo I've ever seen!

Karin said...

My husband and I saw this gazebo in mid January (2010) and with all the snow, we could only gaze at it. I look forward to tipping a glass of vino this coming fall! Your picture is wonderful!

Alex Went said...

Make sure you contact me when you're here, and I'll join you!

Gunn said...

Unique and very very pretty!

Jilly said...

How extraordinary. We could be anywhere but Prague. What a beautiful place. I'd like to share a bottle with you here, Alex. ...

Alex Went said...

Jilly, you are welcome any time! I know what you mean - I can't find any further information about Barvitius's design, but the pattern has always struck me as Indian. The truly unusual point now is the gallery extension, with its reflective glass exterior wall - for a later post - maybe today!

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