The city water supply in Prague

Old Town Water Tower in Prague As early as 1348 was the first water supply established, when wooden pipes were constructed, carrying spring water into fountains on the main squares. There were rich sources of the spring water underground, for example one under the Zitná street, which probably influenced the way the New Town was planned. The first water tower was situated near the Charles Bridge, yet the unfortunate Peter’s Tower did not survive long, burning down in 1425. In 1489 the Old Town water tower was built, soon followed by a New Town version, which is, though destroyed several times during its history, still standing by the Mánes exhibition hall.
There was another one built for the Lesser Town in 1562. The last and the highest of them all was separated from the river over the years by sedimentary soil from the river.

It is important to mention that the whole water supply system was meant as a supply for the city fountains and for selected households only. The fountains were often eye- catching art works on its own, for example a renaissance fountain on the Old Town square, decorated with sculptures of planets, dominated the square from 1593 to 1861.

The water tower system worked until the 1880s, more or less unchanged. At that time new lithium water pipes were placed, being the basis of Prague´ s water supply until today.

In order to prevent landslides and secure the Prague hills, a controlled circulation of water was to be fixed. The major project of this kind was the Rudolf tunnel (Rudolfova stola). Quite a megalomaniac plan for the time, it connected the Stromovka (the Royal game-park at the time) with the Vltava river. The tunnel being long and difficult to create with the given equipment, struggling through an unknown material and constantly interrupted by outbursts of subterranean waters, the task took ten years to accomplish. Open in 1593, it became a showcase of the emperor’s supposed ingenuity. It was accessible until 1711, but is closed down since. A 350- meter part was re-opened in 1997 for the sake of a of a Rudolph II exhibition. The tunnel was 1098 meters long, with 2 to 4 meters high ceiling. It was situated up to 45 meters below the surface. The project’s plans, an interesting artifact, a nearly three meter long paper with various decorative details, are kept in the National Technical Museum.

Sep 4, 10:24 (Filed under: Other )

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