The Chateau Garden is closed due to bad weather

QUESTION:

On 16 February we found the gates of the Chateau Garden closed, the notice board said it was due to bad weather. Although it was cloudy, the weather was fine and through the gate we could see that the footpaths were almost completely dry.

The Chateau Garden is not more dangerous than other parts of the town, the fixing of the park in the recent years cost many millions. There are sandy footpaths in other places, e.g. in the cemetery, and nobody closes them when it rains. I think that this does not serve the reputation of Kroměříž and its tourist attractions. People should be let inside at their own risk in any weather.

ANSWER:

The opening or closing of the gardens depends on the decision of the head of the chateau and the gardens – the site manager. In making such decisions, the site manager considers the advice of the head gardener of the Chateau Garden, and also his own impression upon visiting the garden. If the garden is closed for several days in a row, we check every day whether it can or cannot be opened. There are several kilometres of footpaths that may not be safe in rainy weather.

The sandy footpaths are very difficult to maintain and if they get damaged, which happens specifically during rainy weather, the reconstruction is very expensive. The total area of the garden is 64 hectares.

For several decades, the Chateau Garden has not been the property of the Kroměříž municipality any more, the municipality does not maintain it and over the past 10 years it has not been financially contributing to covering the costs of the maintenance. Both gardens in Kroměříž are managed by the National Heritage Institute, a state allowance organisation under the Ministry of Culture. The “fixing” of the Chateau Garden was supported with small sums only, which we find very sad, but we hope to get more support in the future. However, none of the fixing techniques available can prevent the mudding of the sandy footpaths (including those relatively recently restored ones), which form one of the main elements of the original composition and architecture of this garden.

For us, the main task we had been assigned by the state, is to preserve the status of the UNESCO monument. And not just by the state; it was the initiative of the citizens of Kroměříž that had bound us to protect the gardens as a world cultural heritage, and we must respect this great responsibility we have. It is for us paramount to preserve the garden in the original historic conditions to opening it on as many days as possible. Tourists from all over the world visit Kroměříž to see its historic gardens – monuments – and not municipal parks serving people on a daily basis, and the gardens should not be compared to a cemetery. Our gardens cover 80 hectares, which equals to all the other green areas in the town, including all the cemeteries.