The monastery gardens are located by the former Piaristic monastery between two Litomyšl church, not far from the chateau, on the hill above the city. During a recent reconstruction they were adapted into a representative town garden.
The area of today’s monastery gardens belonged to the provost Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Povýšení sv. Kříže), the Piaristic monastery with the Church of the Finding of the Holy Cross(Nalezení sv. Kříže) and the August printing house. The monastery gardens were always functional and also ornamental. During the time prior to the remodeling as a Baroque Piaristic church they had undergone a Renaissance modification. Later modifications were Baroque; at that time the gardens served as a fruit and vegetable garden and in part as an orchard. In part of the gardens close to the church two cemeteries were located, a Catholic and a Protestant one. Today the gardens are enclosed by old and also by newly built marlstone walls which partly run through the area of the original town fortifications. As recently as the 1930s the gardens were used and maintained. After the Piarists left Litomyšl in 1948 the gardens were completely abandoned and for some time were neither used nor accessible.
The gardens are located in close proximity to the town’s major landmarks and strategically placed in the center of its historical zone. That is why the town decided to return the gardens to a dignified state. In October 1997 the town announced a public tender with the theme “architectural solutions for the area of the monastery gardens as a public town park or garden”. The goal was to create a relaxing area for the residents and visitors of the town in the center of the chateau hill. More than 20 architectural firms participated in the contest, with the winner being Ing. Zdeněk Sendler of Brno.
The main themes of the winning proposal were “garden – theater, theater – garden (landmark churches overlooking the historical background of the town)”, a geometrical concept of space and the linking of the gardens with the area of the chateau and with the town.
The reconstruction began in May 1999 and took more than a year. After the completion of the reconstruction the celebratory opening of the monastery gardens took place on September 2nd 2000 within the framework of the celebration of the European Heritage Day of non-traditional wedding ceremonies and in the presence of several dozen mayors of historic cities and with almost another 3000 visitors and guests.
The area of the gardens consists of more than one hectare. Here visitors can find a gazebo with a view of the city, a “chessboard” with perennials and flower beds. The grass areas are designed for freedom of movement and relaxation. In the center of the gardens there is a pool with a misting area and sculptures which were donated to the town by the sculptor Olbram Zoubek. The gardens also include bathrooms, and in the former coach house the visitors can refresh themselves and sit in a nicely remodeled basement. A very important feature is the automatic sprinkling and lighting of the whole area (which has many variations, such as economical overnight, evening and festive lighting).
The monastery gardens are open from April to October from 8:00 to 22:00, from November to March from 8:00 to 19:00.