Originally, Havlíčkovy sady were covered by vineyards planted here by Emperor Charles IV in the second half of the 14th Century. Later, the Prague residences of Horní and Dolní Landhauska were founded here, which were bought out including the land in 1970 by Prague-based Jewish entrepreneur Moritz Gröbe.
Luxury summer residence of industrial Gröbe
Moritz Gröbe had an opulent villa built at the location, which was then called Gröbe Villa. It was an extensive compound that served as his summer residence. The villa is approximately on the site of the former Horní Landhauska. The lower one stood somewhere near Botič Creek.
Moritz Gröbe loved nature. He created an entire park including a rock garden and cave, and also had built a fountain with a statue of Neptune. During his existence, the entire lot was surrounded by a wall with several access gates. Towards the end of his life, Gröbe was considered to be an eccentric man who only wore yellow and often spent hours sitting on his land and staring ahead.
Gröbe passed away and his heirs made no use of the villa. They opened a garden centre and opened the villa to the public for a small fee.
Villa owned by the city
The Vinohrady municipality purchased the entire compound in 1905, when there were already residential buildings around it, and a year later it was opened to the public under the name of Havlíčkovy sady after writer K. H. Borovský. In the past, members of the royal family used to spend time here as well.
Between the wars, it was home to the Forestry University, and the villa also served as a college for children from outside of Prague who were visiting the city. During World War II, the Hitlerjungen organisation also had its seat here. The villa was reconstructed in 1953 and became the Headquarters for the Julius Fučík Pioneers and Youths. It also housed the Private Dance Conservatory and Prague Singing Conservatory.
Architecture and use of the luxury villa
Gröbe Villa was built in 1870-1874 based on blueprints by Antonín Barvitius. The interior was designed by Josef Schulz and construction overseen by František Havel. The author of the beautiful frescos on the façade is the painter Kugler of Vienna. Indoors, you can admire statutes by sculptor Detem.
The villa features elements in renaissance style and boasts a spacious terrace with a two-winged staircase leading down to the vineyard. A holiday restaurant was built here after World War I.
At present, the villa houses several meeting rooms and premises for holding various seminars, conferences or other events. There are 3 classrooms, 4 conference rooms and a large auditorium for 100 people. The villa also offers accommodation.
The villa stands at the very top of the vineyard, and there is also a luxurious gazebo and pleasant café.