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 only open one Saturday each month and this month it’s the 14th.

Entrance is free, there’s no need to take a tour and it’s great to be able to wander around freely. All signs, posters and information are 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 the R2-D2 installation on the top of the hill.

*The largest shelter is in Bryksova street in Prague 14, with space for almost three thousand people.

Remaining opening dates for 2019 (always a Saturday):

September 14, 2019
October 12, 2019
December 14, 2019

Opening times are 09:00 – 15:00