7 Tips about Historical Undergrounds in Czech Towns

7 Tips about Historical Undergrounds in Czech Towns

What are the undergrounds in Czech towns hiding? Monsters live there, legends are told and some of them might be true…

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The underground is mysterious as it often hides something that should have stayed hidden. The medieval times are long gone, so let’s go look at the most important Czech undergrounds.

Moravia

Brno –Špilberk Castle, Cabbage Market (Zelný trh) and the Ossuary

Špilberk Castle has one of the oldest undergrounds in the Czech Republic. It was probably created in the Baroque period. Originally, the castle underground passages were used as a shelter for the army, but later housed one of the hardest prisons in Europe. There are more than a hundred-metre long passages that are about seven metres wide. The underground was also used by the Nazis. You can see a rusty telephone switchboard and an operating hall where they allegedly killed their prisoners. However, we do not know if that is true.

Brno is one of the few cities in the Czech Republic with a large number of labyrinths of passages, crypts, tunnels and shafts, a part of which is now accessible. One such labyrinth is the underground under the Cabbage Market, hiding medieval passages and cellars that were primarily used for storing food, wine and beer. The underground also includes a replica of the municipal stake and alchemist’s laboratory.
Under the St. Jacob Church, there is another of the Brno undergrounds that includes an ossuary. This unique space is a resting place for the victims of the medieval plaque or cholera epidemics. It is estimated that there are more than 50 thousand people buried there. This makes the Brno ossuary the second largest in Europe, after the Parisian catacombs. The ossuary was made accessible in 2012 when it was completely reconstructed.

Valtice – Wine with History

The town of Valtice is less than an hour by car from Brno. It is mainly known for great wine. And that is why the historic wine cellars, where you can taste the best Valtice wines, have been reconstructed. The cellars were created in the 13th century and they are allegedly related to the foundation of the Minor monastery. At present, more than 900 metres of passages are accessible. When you visit the underground in Valtice, don’t forget the beautiful Valtice Chateau, and you can also visit the majestic Lednice Chateau.

Znojmo

Znojmo is another Moravian town hiding secrets under the ground. It can be found about 70 km southeast from Brno. The unique system of medieval passages is more than 27 kilometres long, has four storeys and it is the largest underground complex in the Czech Republic. The historic underground offers two tour routes – standard and adrenaline. The standard tour, also suitable for children, shows the history of the passages with the use of modern technology. The adrenaline route is for the more adventurous. If you like walking through narrow passages, climbing through gaps and up wet ladders, all in darkness with a headlamp, then this tour is just for you.

Jihlava – Underground with Unique Luminous Passage

When you travel about 50 km north of Znojmo, you will come across Jihlava. The Jihlava underground is the second largest underground complex in the Czech Republic, right after Znojmo. Under the city, there are more than 25 km of passages that were used for storing food and beer. The tour also includes a unique luminous passage, located under the St. Ignatius Church. The walls of the room are laminated by soft green light when lit. There are a lot of speculations about the source of the light. However, it is a type of paint applied by the Nazis that used to use the underground as a bomb shelter during WWII. Allegedly, you can see a ghost of a monk in a cape in the halls.
 

Bohemia

Tábor

From Jihlava, we will go to Tábor in South Bohemia, which will take about an hour by car. The Tabor underground was founded in the 15th century when cellars were dug out under the individual houses. The cellars were later connected and created an underground labyrinth that is about 14 km long. The cellars were also used for storing food and have up to three storeys. Five hundred metres of the cellars are accessible.

Plzeň – After the Secret of Beer Brewing

Under the West Bohemian city of Plzeň, passages, cellars and wells were built as early as the 14th century. The underground is hiding the history of the city, and you can learn all about the secrets of medieval life in the city of Plzen during the tour. The underground passages are over 19 kilometres long, but only one kilometre is accessible. The tour also includes a room called the fridge, which was used for storing ice, then a well and a reservoir, which were important as a water source. The labyrinths of the passages were mainly used for storing food, but beer was also fermented and matured there. The tour starts and ends in the Brewery Museum, and as such you can taste beer from the Plzen kegs at the end of the tour.

Mělník – Not Far from Prague

The Mělník underground was created in the 13th century and was used for storing food and as wine and beer cellars. When necessary, they also provided a shelter in case of fire or war. The rarity of the Mělník underground is the widest well in the Czech Republic, which was probably dug out during the construction of the city, and a circle with a paved inscription on the main square of the city. The well is 54 metres deep and 4.54 metres wide in the widest spot. You can also visit a beautiful chateau at the confluence of Labe and Vltava. Under the St. Peter and Paul Church next to the chateau, there is also the unique ossuary of the city of Mělník, which together with Kutná Hora and Brno is among the largest in the Czech Republic.