In Prague, one can be sometimes surprised by finding something unexpected for the location. In Hostivař, in the very neighborhood of Sídliště Košík, a monstrous complex of big square buildings built in the commie times, an apparation of rural period can be seen. Centre for ecological education Toulcův dvůr (Toulec farmyard) is a complex of historically valuable buildings that survived the brutal rebuilding of the originally countryside location. The farmyard is not valuable only in terms of history, but also as a place to visit and learn new things or just have fun. And last, but not least, it also shows that great results may come, if an individual with a vision is stubborn enough.
Hostivař used to be a countryside location with many farmsteads and the landscape looked according to that. Most of the buildings were built in 19th century, but some yards were much older – Koukal’s farmstead is mentioned as early as in 1567. However it was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century, as many other buildings. The result was the new look of the village, with many houses and courts in classicist style. The jewels of this locality are Švehla’s farmstead and mill. These premises were property of Antonín Švehla, Czechoslovakian prime minister between 1922 and 1929. The farmstead and mill have origin in baroque beginning of 17th century, but Antonín Švehla rebuilt the complex into a modern look of 1920’s and 1930’s. A complete disaster came in 1970’s. The communist planners decided to demolish the most valuable parts and replace them with low-quality concrete blocks of flats. Only a few original farmsteads survived this brutal stroke of socialistic urban planning. Toulec’s courtyard was among them. This farmstead, whose oldest parts come from 14th century, was changed into a feed material factory.
After the Velvet revolution, Toulcův dvůr was designed for ecological-educational purposes. And this was the right time for a real hero to appear on the stage. Emilie Strejčková, major ecology teacher of that time, becomes the first director of the The center for ecological education and immediately starts changing the premises into a usable space. Not many people believed this would be possible, though. Emilie Strejčková does not give up and everything is done in 1998, but the center does not stop developing – new and new things grow on the premises every year. So far, the center consists of Information center and a shop, Ecological advisory center, Library of ecological education, healthy eating house and an organic shop. Also you can find several rooms, where exhibitions and various lessons (eg. Yoga, languages, balance ball exercises…) are held and of course many stables and sheds for animals – pigs, goats, poultry and other. Behind the yard some pens for animals can be found, as well as other things which should show the city kids how nature actually works – a grandma style rustic garden and a piece of forest.
Activities and services
There is a huge range of activities Toulcův Dvůr offers. Apart of the courses for adults there are many trips organized for all age groups, craft fairs and workshops, various celebrations – Easter, Christmas and many more. Also, many events with ecological topics are held here. A special thing is also a horse-riding course. Further, Toulcův Dvůr helds many seminars for scholars on the field of education and ecology. The place also offers dining services, accommodation and room rentals for meetings, trainings or workshops. The best way how to enjoy this place full of natural energy is just to visit it, have a drink and a dish in the organic restaurant and then have a look around. No chance of being disappointed.