Even though Prague’s underground is exceedingly vast, only a small part of it is accessible to the public. But still, it’s definitely worth a visit. Here we will introduce you to four interesting places under the surface of this Czech metropolis that you too can see for yourself.
Catacombs under a church
The catacombs under the Church of Our Lady Victorious and The Infant Jesus of Prague at Malá Strana once hid more than three hundred buried brothers of the order, nuns and noblemen. Their bodies were naturally mummified thanks to the church’s good air circulation. The catacombs were built in 1630 by the Order of the Barefoot Carmelites. 67 metres of extensive crypts can be found under the church. Later the catacombs interconnected with adjacent hallways and other spaces, where even ordinary parishioners were later buried. Today only several mummies in new coffins made from zinc can be found here. The entrance to the catacombs can be found behind the alter and there are places here that are not officially open to the public. But, of course, sometimes, after a reverent discussion with the nuns, entrance is granted to one or two lucky individuals.
Under the castle Vyšehrad, one will find casemates dating back to the mid-17th century, which were meant to serve as a hiding place for the garrison to take cover during times of artillery fire (even though the casemates were often not used for this purpose). Originally, they were built in the beginning together with the fortress from 1653 to 1678 and were later expanded by French soldiers. Blueprints to the Vyšehradské Casemates exist showing the fortress’s detailed plans from 1889. According to this military map, Vyšehrad’s underground is allegedly filled with a number of isolated complexes and the space is much more expansive than what you are allowed to see today. Either way, a substantial part of these complexes will have been buried by now. The accessible hallways measure to about 1km and lead to the underground hall, Gorlice, among other places. It is here that you can admire the original statues from Charles Bridge. The entrance can be found at Cihelná brána (the Brickyard Gate), open daily, January through March, November through December from 9:30 to 17:00 and April through October from 9:30 to 18:00.
Old Town Underground
Old Town Prague used to sit much lower than it does today; a breath-taking 8-metre difference can be found in some places. Due to flooding, the terrain was artificially raised resulting in many aboveground places becoming underground areas. Today, many of the homes survived the flooding and this transformation. And this is exactly what happened with the Old Town Hall with its underground area where one can see many things such as a Roman hall from the 12th century. It’s open every day and year-round from 9:00 to 19:00. Except for Mondays when open hours start at 11:00. You can also continue your walk through to the cellar’s Gothic sections. When it comes to good food, you will find many options on the Old Time Square. Try the Nuance Restaurant, which is ranked among the best restaurants in Prague 1 with its great combination of price and quality.
Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague
During reconstruction of one of the oldest homes in Prague on Haštalská street, address number 1, extensive underground spaces and the remnants of alchemy workshops were discovered after the 2002 flooding. It is here that you can now find an alchemy museum open to the public and you can get a feel for how this underground network used to connect Prague’s historical cellars. These catacombs, some of which have since caved in, lead from the museum to the Old Town Square. They are open daily from 10:00 to 18:00.
Author of the article: HotelRott.cz – hotel in Prague 1