Breathe in culture and relax in the park
The English-style park covers half the island. It is a much-loved place for a leisurely picnic, a game of frisbee with friends or a romantic stroll with a loved one. Situated on the edge of the park is Lichtenstein Palace which has welcomed many honoured guests over the years, including Queen Elizabeth II. These days it is home to the Czech Republic Music Academy. You can hear snatches of the music during summer when rehearsals often take place in its beautiful inner courtyard. The Kampa Museum is located on the park’s eastern waterfront. This museum of modern art is housed in a renovated plant built in 1478. If you love art you’ll be thrilled at its impressive collection of classic modern and contemporary art from the Czech Republic and other parts of Central Europe. Highlights include François Kupka’s abstract paintings and Otto Gutfreund’s cubist sculptures. The building is easy to spot from Charles Bridge; there’s a six metre tall chair standing right in front of it.
The legend of the painting
Whilst walking back across the Charles Bridge after a visit to Kampa Island, make sure you peer below for a moment. Look carefully and you can see a typical ochre-coloured house with a wrought iron balcony. This is the House with Picture of the Virgin Mary. The story goes that, during a terrible flood, a former owner of the house saw a painting of the Virgin Mary floating on the water. At great risk to his life, he managed to retrieve it and hung it above his balcony. The tide immediately turned and Kampa Island was saved. The painting still hangs there to this very day.