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Hvězda Summer Pavilion


Obora Hvězda 397, 162 00 Praha-Praha 6, Česká republika

The Hvězda Summer Pavilion situated in the game enclosure of the same name probably needs no introduction. A favourite destination for walks, a paradise for runners in summer and for cross-country skiers in winter, and a place connected with the Battle of White Mountain. However, the Summer Pavilion hides many a secret behind its simple facade.

The pavilion was built in 1555–1556 at the request of Ferdinand II, son of Ferdinand I and Anna Jagellonica. He was a very educated man, interested in art and architecture. He was influenced by the ideas of neoplatonism and hermeticism, professing the principles of harmony, proportions, symmetry, and the symbolism of numbers. He may have also been influenced by the example of his father who had the Queen Anna Summer Pavilion built for his wife Anna Jagellonica, and founded the Royal Game Enclosure. Ferdinand II had the building constructed based on his own design after he fell in love with Philippine Welser who was of humble origin. He soon married her in secret, despite losing the right of succession for himself and his descendants. The archduke in love laid the foundation stone himself and he wanted it to be built so fast that the archduke’s courtiers were forced to help with digging the foundations. And that was not an easy task, as the underground is all carved in rock.

The ground plan of the building has the shape of a hexagram (the Star of David) with a diameter of 40 m. The hexagram formed by joining two equilateral triangles is moreover known for symbolizing the joining of two contrary powers in mutual harmony, enlightening, and being the source of life force. Even today it is allegedly possible to feel strange energy in the centre of the pavilion which can be detected by divining rods and pendulums. The birth of Jesus was also revealed by a star – a comet. The foundation stone was laid in 1555 when the 311th lustrum after the birth of Jesus began, i.e. a five-year period (311×5) after which ceremonial purification was performed in ancient Rome. In addition, in 311 AD, the Roman emperor Galerius gave religious freedom to Christians for the first time.