Prague, Oct 23 (CTK) – Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech president, will exceptionally open the otherwise inaccessible Deer Moat to the public at two of the following weekends within the upcoming national holidays celebrations, the Presidential Office has announced on social networks.
The Deer Moat will be open on October 26-27 and November 16-17, all days from 10:00 to 15:00.
October 28 is the national holiday marking the anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia in 1918. On November 17, also a state holiday, 30 years will elapse since the outburst of the anti-communist “Velvet Revolution” in the country.
Current President Milos Zeman’s Office faces criticism for having closed the previously freely accessible Prague Castle complex and installed entrance security checks. The Deer Moat has been completely closed to visitors this year, as have the Castle’s Southern Gardens.
The Presidential Office argues that the introduction of the security checks was requested by the police and that some sections of Prague Castle had to be closed due to repairs.
In the lower part of the Deer Moat, the visitors will see panels with information about the moat’s history and recent repairs. In the upper part, there is a newly reconstructed bear enclosure, which the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1918-35) had built for the bears he received as a present from the Czechoslovak legionaries returning from Russia after World War One. There are no bears in the enclosure any more.
Since 2002, the Moat’s lower and upper parts have been interconnected by a brick tunnel for pedestrians, designed by architect Josef Pleskot.
The entrance to the moat is near the Klarov square and the visitor route ends in the U Brusnice street.
Spreading below Prague Castle along the Brusnice stream, the Deer Moat has the area over eight hectares and its name reminds of its role in the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II (1578-1612) era when game was kept in the moat.
In the communist period, the Moat was closed to the public, as were other Prague Castle premises. It was opened only under Vaclav Havel, the first post-communist president in 1989-2003.
Under Zeman (in office since 2013), some parts of the Moat were closed in 2017 as a security measure. In 2018, Prague Castle announced that he moat’s lower part would be closed to a reconstruction. It remained closed this year.