Rudolfova štola

Emperor Rudolph Water Tunnel

Useful Information

Location: Prague.
Entrance: Kpt. Jaroše quay.
Exit: Stromovka Park.
Open: On special occasions. [2007]
Classification: SubterraneaWater Supply
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=1,102 m, W=0.7-1.0 m, H=2-3 m.
Guided tours:
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1581 construction ordered by Emperor Rudolph II.
1593 tunnel completed.
1804 Game Park opened to the public.
1988 start of tunnel reconstruction.
1994 reconstruction completed.
2002 the extreme flood damaged the tunnel by filling it with mud.


The Rudolfova štola (Rudolph Gallery) is named after Emperor Rudolf II (*1522-✝1612), who ordered its construction in 1581. Rudolf was an intelligent man, open minded and interested in arts and sciences. Unfortunately he was also a little weird and believed many strange things. He was betrayed by mountebanks and charlatans, did not marry, and became depressive. Finally his brother Matthias forced him to cede the crown of Bohemia to him.

The adit was built by the miners of MineKutná Hora silver mines. Lazar Ercker from Šrefnkelz, Supreme Minemaster of the Kingdom and Jirí Oeder from Ústí, Mine Surveyor were ordered to manage the works. They made five shafts, between 33 m and 39 m deep, and started work into both directions, so the miners worked at 12 places at the same time. There seems to be a litle confusion, as another source on the internet talks about four shafts 22-49 m deep, but the principle is the same. As a result of this massive parallel processing the completion of a 1,100 m long tunnel with the primitive tools of the time, hammers, mattocks, and various bit chisels, took only a decade. Because of the extraordinary technical achievement of this adit it is considered the most important underground work in Prague and a technical monument of European importance.

Rudolph Gallery conveys water to the ponds in the former King's Game Preserve. It is 1,102 m long, connecting the left hand Vltava embankment above Štefánikuv most (Šverma Bridge) with the vodárenský domek (water administrators house) in Stromovka park. It crosses Belvedere Hill underground and uses the height difference between the New Mill Weir and the river below. At the entrance is a house called Havírna.

Since its completion in 1593 this tunnel was operating until the present day, but it had to be repaired almost continuously. It is normally filled with water, but it may be visited on special occasions.