Back in the 1950s/1960s, nuclear fallout shelters were all the rage. There are, apparently, nearly 800 civil protection shelters in Prague. The Folimanka shelter is one of the largest*. It has a capacity of 1,300 people, an area of 1332 m², armoured door, water wells and a 30kW electrical generator.
This massive underground shelter is on Pod Karlovem street in Prague – nearest tram stop is Nuselské schody. Just walk along Pod Karlovem street until you reach No.2 and the entrance to the shelter is across the street – but it’s usually shut.
Entrance was free, there was no need to take a tour and so it was great to be able to wander around freely. All signs, posters and information was in Czech.
The shelter is a labyrinth of tunnels with various rooms. There is still old plant and machinery down there for water, air filtration and electricity supplies. There were a few rooms set aside for showers and toilets – although it seems that privacy wasn’t something that fallout survivors could expect as the toilet cubicles had no doors and the showers were communal. I didn’t see any obvious bedrooms and so I’m not sure where survivors were supposed to sleep.
I followed signs to the Bělehradská street exit and found myself walking up two steep tunnels. I finally arrived at a large, locked iron door. Later when I was back outside, I could guess that this door was on the top of the hill – I’d hardly noticed it before.
There was also a vertical tunnel with ladder rungs leading to an escape hatch – which I guess is also locked. I need to try to find that hatch.
The whole place was amazing and I’d recommend a visit. And while you’re in the area, you can visit R2-D2.
Opening dates for 2020 (always a Saturday 09:00 – 15:00):
February 15th, 2020
March 14, 2020
April 18, 2020
May 16, 2020
June 13, 2020
July 18, 2020
August 15, 2020
September 12, 2020
October 17, 2020
November 14, 2020
December 12, 2020
*The largest shelter is in Bryksova street in Prague 14, with space for almost three thousand people.