One of the most remarkable peculiarities from Prague’s history is the Rudolph Gallery, in Czech “Rudolfova štola”, named after the emperor Rudolph II. It was built from 1581 to 1593 in order to feed water to the Royal Game Preserve, today Stromovka park. Over a length of roughly 1.1 km, the narrow tunnel bridges a decline of 110 cm.
Historic plan of the Rudolph Gallery, cutting through the hill. (source: Wikipedia)
It is a bit difficult after the 2002 floods
to walk inside the tunnel. If you don’t want to do a virtual tour
(this website is worth visiting also for the rare images of the bunkers below the former Stalin memorial and other subterranean spaces) you can still walk above the surface. Walking through the misty town is one of the few special things you can do here particularly in autumn, and hopefully the melancholy won’t kill you.
Our walk starts at the Vltava river, close to the bridge Štefaníkův most. Here you see the little house at the beginning of the adit.
The Rudolph Gallery at the Vltava river.
A view inside.
This must be the water inlet to the tunnel from the Vltava river.
We take one of the footpaths leading uphill. Enjoy the view of the Vltava river and the old town.
This is a ventilation shaft above the Rudolph Gallery, on top of the hill and close to the beer garden (by the way, a great place in summer!). These shafts were also used during the construction.
High school above the Rudolph Gallery, named after the tunnel. The name probably doesn’t make much sense to people who don’t know what’s below their feet.
The street “Nad Štolou” – literally “above the adit”. Follow that street, pass the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on your left hand side.
Carefully cross Letenské náměstí (after having waited a long time for the extremely short green phase) …
… and continue along Čechova Street with its beautiful Art Nouveau buildings.
Ever wondered what is this little turret? It is yet another ventilation shaft of Mr. Rudolph – this one in Čechova Street.
Very close now. Looking inside.
A last look back at Čechova Street before you enter Stromovka park near the playground. You then need to bypass the railway tracks (I usually turn left).
Descending zigzag to Stromovka park …
… until you see the water administrator’s house with its contemporary tribal wall decoration.
Very mysterious: the exit of the Rudolph Gallery in the Stromovka park. (Note: If you decide to walk inside, remember to take the key of the exit gate, or you’ll have to walk all the way back.)
The Rudolph Gallery inside, as seen through the closed gate. From outside.
And that’s where it all ends: A lake in Stromovka park.
Read yourself if you can – a Czech information panel.
I hope you enjoyed the virtual walk!
This tour is available as Audio-Tour! Listen while you walk, with many extra infos.