Thursday, 2 December 2010

Villa Gröbe (Grébovka)

I've written a good deal about the Villa Gröbe, or Grébovka, as it's known, without ever having really shown a picture of it in all its splendour. Today is the perfect opportunity to do so, with the added advantage of the westering sunlight to enhance the view (yes, that really is the setting sun reflected in the Narnia-style lamp-post). Although the villa was not the first building to have stood on this site overlooking the Royal Vineyards, it was by far the most splendid. And its story began with the coming of the railways.

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.


Anonymous said...

Mozna, ze by se ten text mel kompletovat tim, co tam bylo za valky. Mam dojem. ze tam byla Hitlerjugend - nejsem si tim ale zcela jist. To co ale jiste je, ze zacatkem roku (unor?) 1945 ta budova po naletu vyhorela. To jsem videl od nas z okna - bydlel jsem ve 4. patre v nynejsi Petrohradske ulici.

S pozdravem
Jan Cernoch

Alex Went said...

Ahoj Jane, ovlouvam se že moje čestina není velmi dobra, ale děkuju moc za dopis. Slyšel jsem taky že Vila byla Hitler Youth camp, ale nevědel jsem o pozáry. Zajimave že jste bydlel v Petrohradske ul. Četl jste tuto dalši stranku?

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