Photo gallery: Main hall of landmark Stromovka restaurant unveiled after restoration

The building in Stromovka park had suffered neglect, fires and flood damage, but is now being restored as an event space and eatery.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 28.06.2021 12:20 (updated on 28.06.2021)

Renovation of the landmark Šlechtova Restaurant in Prague’s Stromovka park is in its final stages. Restoration work has been completed in the main hall, where social events are beginning to take place. Culinary facilities in an extension building will be finished next year.

Šlechtova restaurace, located in the center of Stromovka near some newly restored artificial ponds, for decades has been in poor shape due to neglect as well as fire damage.

“The renovation of Šlechtovka’s main hall has finally been successfully completed, and I am glad that after a long time we can finally open it to people. Praguers or visitors to the metropolis can come here for a chamber concert or organize a wedding or graduation, and enjoy joyful moments in life in a beautifully restored hall,” Prague City Councilor Hana Třeštíková, responsible for culture and monument care said.

The Baroque hall has had its stucco decoration renewed. Ceiling murals were replicated, and a grotto with a new stone fountain was designed according to a historical plans.

“After decades of unnecessary dilapidation, Šlechtova restaurace will once again be a showcase for the Stromovka Royal Game Reserve. After long and demanding repairs, we can finally say that the renovated Baroque hall will serve Praguers and all visitors to the city, in addition to the very pleasant affairs – from weddings to social or cultural events. In the future, everyone will be able to go to Šlechtovka for something good to eat or drink,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said.

The renovated central space can once again host various social events after many years. With the gradual dismantling of anti-epidemic measures, smaller concerts, weddings, or even graduations are starting to take place here, or are planned for the coming months.

Work is also being done on the building's façade, ground floor arcades, and the restored sandstone railings.

The second stage of the renovations will include the completion of extensions for culinary use. The project is currently being processed according to the requirements of the municipal company Obecní dům.

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, City Councilor Hana Třeštíková, Prague 7 Mayor Jan Čižinský, and others present the restored hall. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Mayor Hřib, City Councilor Třeštíková, Prague 7 Mayor Čižinský, and others present the restored hall. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

The company will manage the building after all construction work has been completed. After the project is modified and the necessary permits obtained, a tender for a new contractor will take place, and then the second stage will start.

Simultaneously with the construction work on the completion of the extensions, a retaining wall will be completed. The slope behind Šlechtovka will be modified, and the adjacent Kaštanka garden will also be restored. Completion of the final stage is expected next year. At that time, a new restaurant should also start serving the general public.

The main hall will not serve as a restaurant dining room once the culinary facilities are finished. The restaurant will be centered on an extension building and adjacent patio.

Exterior of the restored Šlechtova restaurace in Stromovka. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Exterior of the restored Šlechtova restaurace in Stromovka. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

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“The estimated total amount for the renovation of Šlechtovka restaurace, including VAT and all related design and engineering activities, was set at CZK 290 million in 2020. Compared to previous plans, the price increased during implementation mainly due to a larger volume of necessary restoration work. Furthermore, the capacities of the proposed restaurant operations were increased, which has an impact on all technological parts of the project,” City Councilor Třeštíková said.

Prague 7 Mayor Jan Čižinský said the completion of the renovation of the Baroque hall is an important step on the way to the complete opening of Šlechtovka restaurace to residents and visitors to Prague.

Šlechtovka during renovation work. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Šlechtovka during renovation work. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

“The communist regime and the floods in 2002 had a significant effect on the status of Šlechtovka. There has been talk of its renovation for many years; I am glad that the current management of Prague has found energy and finances for the renovation of Šlechtovka. This important monument and dominant feature of Stromovka will finally be able to continue its previous tradition and become a sought-after center of cultural and social gatherings again,” Čižinský said.

Šlechtovka began as a royal summer hunting lodge when Stromovka was still a game reserve for the royal family. It was built between 1689 and 1692, paid for by Count Kryštof František Vratislav z Mitrovic, as a gift for Emperor Leopold I. The original architect was Franz Anton Leonard Herget, sometimes also called František Antonín Linhart Herget.

The park was a military grounds in the first half of the 18th century, and the lodge was used as a warehouse for grain and hay.

Side building at Šlechtova. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)
Side building at Šlechtova. (Photo: Raymond Johnston)

In the middle of the 19th century, Stromovka opened to the public as a park. In 1855–56, the building was rebuilt according to the plans by architect Bernard Grueber in the neo-Gothic style as a garden restaurant. The ground-floor porch with an upper terrace was added to the building and the side halls were raised as two-story towers at this time.

In 1883, the building was rented by Václav Šlechta, and the restaurant remained in the possession of his family until World War II.

After the war, the restaurant was still partially in operation, but the building had fallen into disrepair. It eventually closed when the Šlechta family refused to turn the restaurant operations over to the then-communist government. It was declared a cultural landmark in 1964, but it continued to deteriorate.

The building subsequently had fires in 1978 and 1980, and a temporary roof was put on. In addition, in 2002, the building was hit by floods. Restoration work began in 2017.

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