Thursday, 2 December 2010
140 years ago Prague's main train station was built at the top of the old Horse Market, today's Wenceslas Square. Connecting the lines to major hubs such as Vienna was going to be complex, however, since they would have to run directly through the historic Vinohrady district.
The solution was to construct a kilometre-long tunnel directly under the high ground of Vinohrady as far as the Nusle valley, and Moritz Gröbe was the railway magnate whose company was responsible for digging it. The debris from the excavation was then hauled up the hill to become the foundations of his magnificent summer residence.
Shortly after his death, the family sold the villa and surrounding parkland to the local municipality. The building was used as school, and during Communist times became the Palace of Young Pioneers. Today, beautifully restored to its original state, it is the headquarters of the Central European and Eurasian Law Institute.