Autumn is my favourite season of the year, and because of this, I love looking for new places in the city of Prague to enjoy those brilliant autumn colours. Today I enjoyed a stunning and fascinating walk around the grounds of The Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital. Several people had recommended that I take a trip here and I was intrigued to pay it a visit and find out more. It may sound like a bit of a strange place to pass an afternoon, but the hospital actually has extensive grounds, which are open to the public 24hrs a day, 365 days a year and there is no entrance fee.
It is a pretty innovative and highly successful project, which aims to integrate the hospital’s residents with the wider community. The hospital hosts many events throughout the year, including live music and theatre. Each spring it hosts the massively popular “Mezi Ploty” music festival, which is attended by thousands of people and always attracts some of the biggest names on the Czech music scene.
The district of Bohnice is in Prague 8 (just a 30-minute trip via public transport from the centre of Prague). When I first got off the bus, I have to say that Bohnice didn’t strike me as a particularly scenic location. There were blocks of high rise flats as far as the eye could see and lots of traffic roaring up and down the busy main road. However, as soon as the I set eyes upon the entrance to the hospital grounds, I knew that it had been worth the trip. This beautifully historic building looked quite out of place in its surroundings. I saw that the gate was open and was excited to see what I would find on the other side.
I wasn’t disappointed. The grounds of the hospital had such a glorious sense of peace and tranquillity that I immediately forgot about the busy main road and the roaring traffic. After walking in through the main entrance, the first thing you will see is the imposing and hugely impressive presence of The Church of St. Vaclav. I could hear that there was a service taking place, so I didn’t enter the church but took a moment to walk around its exterior and appreciate this beautiful piece of architecture.
The grounds are clearly very popular with locals and I came across many cyclists, runners and dog walkers as I slowly meandered around their massive expanse. If you’re interested in visiting the hospital grounds, I would recommend going soon, as the autumn foliage that I saw today was simply breathtaking. I could barely walk a few metres without taking a picture.
However, there was also a lot more to see. There are many buildings dotted about throughout the grounds, most of which are in use as either accommodation or clinics. However, I found a rather striking selection of abandoned buildings up towards the top of the grounds – and I rather liked the graffiti.
The hospital also has its very own farm, which is home to many different animals, including horses and donkeys. The farm is also a fantastic location to take in some stunning views over the local countryside.
I would thoroughly recommend a trip to Bohnice to anybody who is a lover of nature, autumn, wildlife, or simply anybody who is looking to escape the frenetic city atmosphere for an afternoon. To get here, simply go to the Metro station Kobylisy (C Line). From here you can take either the 200 or 177 bus for 10 minutes to the stop Odra. The hospital is just a 2-minute walk from the bus stop.
If you’re feeling brave, the hospital grounds are just a short walk from the disused cemetery, which was owned by the hospital. It has been called the scariest cemetery in Europe…