Baba, where this mini-ruin of 17th century former summer-house and wine-press is located, is a part of city district Dejvice in Prague 6, Czech Republic. It is situated on a rocky hill of the same name, some 264 – 267 m above the sea on the left bank of the Vltava River.
The name Baba has already been documented in the 15th century. The area was settled as early as in the Younger Stone Age, which is documented by numerous archaeological findings from the 1970’s. In the medieval era, the local area belonged to the settlement named Horní Šárka and there were vineyards here. They were established in the beginning of the 15th century by Jiřík of Janovice, the provost of St. Vitus Chapter to whom the settlement belonged.
More vineyards were established in 17th century by a New Town Municipality.
Subsequent owner of this vineyard, Servác Engel of Engelfluss, a burgess and a tanner and a brave defender of Prague against the Swedes in 1648, built a vineyard press which was later rebuilt into a summer-house after 1650. (Or a Chateau, if you will, as French call any building adjacent to a vineyard for the purpose of processing grapes.)
In 1673, the vineyard and the object of the summer-house was purchased by the dean of the St. Vitus Metropolitan Chapter Tomáš Jan Pěšina of Čechorod.
In the 1740s, the summer-house was demolished and burnt out by the Bavarian and French soldiers during the War of the Austrian Succession, and in 1748, the land was annexed to the Šárka farmyard.
In 1858, when the railway from Prague to Podmokly was built, the national railway company had the palace-like remains of the summer-house adapted to resemble a castle ruin and transformed it into a romantic ruin with massive walls and vaulted Windows. It soon became a popular destination among Prague folks for hiking trips.
The graffiti is a modern addition of today’s times and if I may speak for myself they are making this rather minuscule ruin an interesting art piece. What do you think?
Graffiti on the Ruin of Baba in detail, December 2013: