Fallout Shelters and Nuclear Bunkers in Prague

A network of fallout shelters lies hidden under streets and parks in Prague. Concrete domes for ventilation are silent witnesses for these shelters. Many fallout shelters in Prague were built during the peak of the Cold War. Large steel doors closed off the tunnels of the Prague metro network. The presidential shelter is hidden below the surface of Prague Castle There were also bunkers for the general public. The most famous lies deep under the Vitkov hill, not far from here, under Parukarka hill is another civilian fallout shelter: Bezovka. These two are the bigger-sized shelters for several hundred up to thousands of people. Smaller shelters were situated in the basements of buildings. Some are still there as the fallout shelter in the basement of Hotel Jalta.

fallout shelters

Fallout Shelters and Nuclear Bunkers

Deep beneath Prague there are about 800 fallout shelters with their own electricity, water and ventilation systems. Most were built in the 1950s and 1960s. When the metro network was built in 1970s heavy steel doors were included so that the network could be hermetically closed. These bunkers were not designed to shelter people for years. The aim was to save them from a nuclear attack from the West. But the attack never came. The City of Prague has maintained the fallout shelters up to today but is now reconsidering their use. They could be turned into shops, hydroponic farms, garages, warehouses, film studios, clubs, museums and galleries

The fallout shelters were built to protect people in the event of an nuclear explosion, radiation and radioactive dust but only for three days.
Fallout shelter facts:
* 768 permanent shelters can hold 150,000 people.
* The metrotunnels can hold 332,000 people
* Strahov Tunnel can hold 15,000 people
This adds up to far less than the number of people that live in Prague.

Folimanka Fallout Shelter

The Folimanka shelter with a capacity of 1.300 people is a labyrinth of tunnels with various rooms. You will see machinery for air filtration and electricity supplies, armoured door and water wells. The toilet cubicles had no doors and the showers units were communal. Injured or ill persons were treated in the first aid room. In the common area people could sit on benches along the walls. There were two morgues. Each could hold up to 10 bodies, which are then covered with quick lime. The cable telephone switchboard was operated by two skilled operating personnel. There was also a lookout post to evaluate the situation above ground, which resembles a periscope on a submarine
Check out the concrete ventilation domes in the Folimanka park above the fallout shelter. The air went through a dust filtration system to remove any atomic particles.

Address: Pod Karlovem Street, opposite the building no. 2.
Public transport: Tram 6 or 11 to Pod Karlovem or Nuselské schody tram stop
Opening hours: Once a month on a Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm. Visitors can wander around freely and entrance is free of charge

Parukarka Fallout Shelter

The Parakurka fallout shelter or Bezovka bunkr is staged like an exhibition as in a museum and consists of three sections: rooms with equipment and also containing historical photos, engine rooms and corridors and tunnels. Dummies dressed as officials, nurses and ordinary people wearing gasmasks. A naked man is decontaminated by two officials in protective clothing. A little girl wearing a gas masks holds a doll in her arms and a line of people in protective clothing all wearing gas masks.

The hospital room with a patient and a nurse, crutches near the bed. A father with his two children wearing gas masks, their suitcases next to them as if they have just arrived. An exhibition of several types of gas masks, chemical suits, flags, badges, military supplies, posters, photographs, books, newspapers and publications related to the topic of civil protection and the Cold War. A telecommunication rooms with typewriter and a telephone exchange, torches and binoculars.

Address: There are by five entrances, three in Prokopova street and two Ceskobratrska street. The entrances are protected by huge metal doors, each weighting around four tons.
Opening hours: only a few days per year for free tours but paid tours can be arranged through Prague Communist Tour.

fallout shelters

Fallout Shelter in Hotel Jalta

The Hotel Jalta fallout shelter is in the basement of the same name hotel. Spread over three floors, it was a safe place for 150 persons. Read here the full story.

Other Fallout Shelters

1. The best-known fallout shelter is the tunnel network of the Prague metro. The metro stations can be turned into bunkers that can withstand a nuclear explosion. There is place for 300,000 persons who can survive here for three days. Read more here.

2. The Zizkov tunnel under the National Monument on Zizkov Hill can accommodate 1.250 persons. It includes an emergency hospital and a morgue. Read more here.

3. The presidential shelter in is 60 m below Prague Castle and the government shelter is Klárov, known as the ‘secret metro station’. It is still unclear if this was intended to be part of the metro or whether it was only meant to serve as a shelter for the communist government.

4. Besides these large shelters for several hundred up to thousands of people, there were dozens of smaller shelter usually situated in the basements of buildings.

Tip: Join a guided tour and learn about Communism in Prague and visit a fallout shelter. Click here to book online

Photos: Marianne Crone and Hotel Jalta

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