Villages: Průhonice

Zofia Froněk takes a look at Prague's southeastern neighbor

Expats.cz

Written by Expats.cz
Published on 07.09.2007 16:15 (updated on 07.09.2007)

Written by Zofia Froněk
for Expats.cz

The Village of Průhonice lies to the south-east of Prague, with the historical village centre on one side of the busy D5 highway and the modern development and ‘nákupní zoná’, or shopping park, on the other.

Definitely the highlight of this popular and picturesque village is Průhonice park, now a UNESCO protected area.  Originally the concept of Count Arnošt Emanuel Silva-Tarouca, a Portuguese amateur botanist, the park is as ornate as its founder´s name. Count Silva-Tarouca listed over 2,300 species of plants and trees cultivated in the park between 1885 and 1927. Today, several thousand varieties of trees and bushes grow there, including a vast collection of rhododendrons. It is tastefully laid out over some 250 hectares, with pathways, creeks, bridges, several ponds and an alpinium, and is open daily all year round, with an entrance fee of 40 czk/adult, 20 czk/child. The botanical garden is open on weekday mornings. I recommend making use of the 15 czk map, too, as it is a far bigger area than you may expect.

There are several buildings of interest within the park grouds. The first one that you meet if you enter from the main gate is the zámek, or castle, dating from the mid 14th century; a fine and romantic backdrop – no wonder the park is a popular venue for wedding photo shoots! There is also the small chapel of Our Lady dating from 1187. Many of Prague´s well-known figures visit the park regularly – Havel and Klaus have both enjoyed walking its pathways, and it was the venue for the wedding of Klaus´s son. Unfortunately, the castle is not open to visits by the public, as it is home to the Czech Institute of Botany.

The park is a fine place to wander and picnic, feed the ducks and enjoy the greenery all year round. In the spring, you can marvel at the colourful rhododendrons, and in summer you can enjoy one of the occasional open-air jazz or classical music concerts if you´re lucky enough to find one on the programme for the day of your visit. See  www.parkpruhonice.cz (czech only) for more info and a map.
 
In the village, there are ample opportunities for refreshment after your walk. U Bezoušků, describing itself as a ‘family brewery, pub and private hotel´ offers home-brewed, non-filtered beer, including a 16 degree variety with the suggestive name of ‘bizon´. You´ll be served good Czech food at competitive prices and there´s a large summer garden, too (see www.ubezousku.cz). For a taste of France, try the Creperie U Slepiček which serves a mouthwatering selection of crepes, and where the walls are colourfully decorated with children´s drawings. Or, for a special treat, check out Restaurant TVRZ (www.tvrzpruhonice.cz). Here you will find some truly up-market cuisine (at fairly extravagant prices), often with themed monthly specials.

The village lies on the river Botič, which feeds into the park´s ponds, and it is centered around a small but pleasant ‘náměstí‘, with a potraviny, pharmacy, post office and a couple of banks.

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Easy accessibility both to Prague and the Brno motorway, as well as the park, restaurants and green surroundings make Průhonice a sought-after location both for living and for company meetings and conferences. In the village, a plethora of hotels – the Magnolia, Floret, Park Hotel and Tulipan – all cater to this clientele, offering conference meeting rooms and facilities. These are often booked-out months in advance. Next to the D5 highway, the four-star Club Hotel Praha has accommodation in 100 rooms, and an extensive sport and fitness centre where you can find, among other activities, tennis, squash, bowling, swimming, badminton, a technogym, sauna and solarium. Enough to keep even the most energetic of visitors occupied in all weathers! (See www.club-hotel-praha.cz).

For those who consider shopping more their type of sport, you will be not be disappointed. The Průhonice shopping centre is a vast area of super-size outlets. I would recommend going by car because, although the distances between the stores are walkable, you´ll need all the foot-power you can muster while exploring what´s on offer; not to mention a sizeable vehicle to transport your haul back home afterwards. Many of the big chain stores are represented – the ‘usual suspects‘ – such as Gigasport, Herlitz, Kika, Makro, Billa, Lidl, Electro World, Humanic, Bauhaus and Bata; with several other smaller shops in the mall which houses Hypernova. Although it´s hardly boutique-shopping, at least there´s something for everyone. And if your credit card is not totally maxed-out after all that shopping, finish the day with a pedicure, or splash out on the ultimate indulgence – a chocolate and cream whole-body wrap – at the Miracle Spa beauty and cosmetic salon in the village. “Wrapped in foil,  you rest in a heated bed…relaxing and enjoying the smell, while chocolate nourishes each millimetre of your body.“ Tempted?! (see www.spamiracle.cz).

If you want to rent or buy a place of your own in Průhonice, be aware that prices can differ widely. Developers and real-estate agents with a foot in the door of  the expat market can easily command rents of 50-80,000 czk/month for a 4- or 5-bedroom family house; prices of newly-built houses and villas start at around 8 million and the sky is the limit. There are not so many apartments in this area, either. Around the borders of the park there are plenty of impressive new villas; some look as though they were built to rival the zámek – with their high-security fences and alarm systems, they are modern fortresses in their own right. However, you can still find older houses, maybe in need of renovation, for a more accessible sum if you are willing to search and then pay out further time and money on reconstruction work. It´s a fairly safe bet that property value in this area will increase, though, so the investment may well prove worth the effort in the future.

One unique service to be found in the village is the Průhonice Clinic of Plastic Surgery. You can choose from the somewhat baffling list of treatments, which include tummy tucks, hair replacement, wrinkle removal and chemical peeling. Prices range from 4 EUR to almost 5,000 EUR, depending on your treatment (click here for more info).

One final word: 2006 saw victory for the Czech Republic in that spectacular festival of beauty that is the Miss World contest. It is interesting to note that Miss Czech Republic 2007, Kateřina Sokolová, hails from Průhonice. It is a stylish village, no doubt about it.

How to get there:

On PT – From Opatov metro stop (line ‘C´), take bus 324, 325, 363 or 385 (journey 15 mins) to Průhonice.

By car – Take the D5 motorway direction to Brno. Exit 6 for Průhonice Village.

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By bike – For a scenic route, from Opatov metro, cross over the D5 and take K Hrnčířům road through the village of Šeberov. At the next village, Hrnčíře, turn left onto K Labeškám, which will bring you into Průhonice Village (approx. 6 km).