Visit a Real-Life Josef Lada Christmas Village in Prague

A chateau just outside of Prague is bringing the holiday-themed paintings of the iconic Czech illustrator to life

Chvalský zámek is a Renaissance chateau, built on the site of a 15th-century gothic fortress, in the town of Horní Počernice, to the northeast of Prague. It’s a hidden-gem day trip with a restaurant serving rustic cuisine and a nice roster of events all year round.

But the chateau gets particularly festive during the holiday season when it recreates the paintings of beloved Czech illustrator Josef Lada, inviting visitors to step into reproductions of the snowy Czech villages that make the artist a perennial holiday favorite among Czechs.

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Lada, an illustrator, cartoonist and writer, is best known for his children’s books and illustrations of Jaroslav Hašek’s World War I novel The Good Soldier Švejk.

Image: Josef Lada Official / Facebook
Image: Josef Lada Official / Facebook

He is credited with 15,000 illustrations and more then 500 paintings with themes and motifs ranging from carictures of Švejk-era civil servants, to idyllic scenes of his birthplace, the village of Hrusice, depicting wintry landscapes alive with Christmas activity and nativity scenes.

The Lada Christmas exhibit on the first floor of the Chvalský Zámek features interactive exhibits for families including play fishing, snowman building, and Christmas-card making and runs through January 8. It is open daily 9am-5pm.

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On December 24, a live nativity will take place at the chateau from 2pm-4pm.

Additional exhibits on through the holidays include a ceramic Christmas village and the carved angels and nativity scenes of Josef Halda. 

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