UPDATE: Taking place November 25-26, 2017, this year’s event sees a number of new locations added to A Day Below Ground. Explore the inner workings of the Estates Theater, National Theatre, and enjoy an accompanying program in the basement of Our Lady of the Snows in the Franciscan Garden.
Explore the underground tunnels beneath nature preserve Divoká Šárka used by the German army in 1943 for its proximity to Ruzyne airfield. Discover the Branická skála which once housed an underground factory and is now home to wintering bats – not for the claustrophobic.
The Stromovka Sewer System, Prague’s oldest, is a 3.5-meter tunnel running from Old Town to Bubeneč; the Vyšehrad casemate fortification, constructed during the French Occupation of Prague in 1742, now houses six original sculptures from the Charles Bridge which haven’t been on view since the 1990s. For a complete program see here.
While much of Prague’s steepled, spired, and Baroque beauty decidedly begins at ground level, a new event aims to draw attention to what lies beneath.
A Day Below Ground (Na Den Pod Zem) will unlock a wide range of the Czech capital’s underground structures – atomic bunkers, catacombs, tunnels, and historic cellars – that are typically closed off to the public, many of which, according to the site for the event, are completely unknown.
The event takes place on December 10.
Several of the tours on offer during next month’s open day will attract Cold War and World War II enthusiasts including the bullet-riddled National Monument to the Heroes of the Heydrich Terror in the Church of Cyril and Methodius, faithfully recreated in the Prague-shot film Anthropoid.
Others will appeal to those with an even more morbid curiosity: the crypt of the Church of Our Lady Victory contains dozens of 18th-century graves, among them several glass coffins housing mummified human remains.
Aside from ecclesiastical and historic subterranean spaces, several Prague theaters will invite visitors to go beneath the boards: explore the depths of the National Theatre which boasts a rail system for transporting actors and backdrops and a secret tunnel that leads to the Vltava.
The tours are free and take place in time slots throughout the day and early evening. Space is limited; reservations can be made online from Sunday, November 27.
See nadenpodzem.cz for a map of locations and to book your spot.
Lead photo: Bunkr Parukářka via Na Den Pod Zem