The whole Vítkov is to a large extent literally riddled with tunnels. Except for the newest railways, which originated in the 21st century, we can talk about a tangle of various mined galleries that originated on a slope from the Karlín side and which people used primarily as wine cellars. It was not until the Second World War that the Nazis gradually changed them to anti-aircraft covers, which became the basis of the later anti-atomic cover.
At first glance, we enter it through an inconspicuous door approximately in the middle of the Žižkov tunnel. It is about one in four possible entrances to the underground complex, which is full of darkened rooms and long corridors, at the ceiling of which there are various pipes and wires. As Petr Koníček, Head of the Department of Flood Protection and Shelter of Civil Protection (CO), points out, the cover is constantly connected to both the water mains and the electric network.
For example, the heating system operates here daily. “To prevent excessive humidity from affecting the condition of the housing. This maintains a constant temperature of around 15 ° Celsius, ”says Koníček. The cover of over 1600 m² was built in parallel with the Žižkov tunnel it was not fully operational until 1953. Its original capacity should be almost double.
While the present shelter extends in the western part of Vítkov, a similar network of curving corridors was planned to the east. For some reason, however, only a small part of it was created, which is also accessible from the Žižkov tunnel. Communists kept it on file as morguethat there is nowhere to store the bodies of those who have died in the shelter in case of emergency.
Not a tenth of Žižkov
“The cover was created by mining technology, while the thickness of reinforced concrete walls is about three meters, ”Explains Koníček. Those, along with tons of earth, stones and rocks that fill spaces up to 53 meters above our heads, would be able to face even a few-day bombardment, and in the event of an atomic bomb falling, could withstand a pressure wave, prevent the penetration of radioactive fallout and light radiation. Despite the fact that about six meters above the cover, there are railway tunnels.
The underground spaces below the Vítkov Hill hide not only a large complex of reinforced corridors to serve as an anti-atomic shelter, but also a secret laboratory with a particle accelerator. David Zima
“In the case of an emergency call people would stay in the corridors,” explained Koníček. But before they can move in, it would be necessary to sweep the cover, which means equip it with everything necessary for habitation. “Within 24 to 48 hours of the announcement of the emergency, the necessary material, bottled water, benches on which residents may reside, and oxygen bottles, ”Explains Koníček.
In total, the housing should fit 1 200 inhabitants, which is not even one tenth of the population of Karlín or Žižkov. These should be the cover intended primarily. “There are about 200 anti-atomic shelters in Prague, of which one under Vítkov is one of the larger ones,” says Koníček. “In principle, however, people do not have priority right to them. They are simply intended for those who come earlier. “
One of the entrances to the shelter is located at the very top of Vítkov. However, it is carefully sealed, because thieves and vandals climbed into it.
Author: Martin Přibyl
If by chance someone from Žižkov was in Dejvice when announcing an emergency, it would weigh the unnecessary way into the “home” shelter. It would be better for him hide in the closest possible shelter – while the largest Prague-wide operates within the Prague metro network. It could be hidden in its underground space in an emergency up to 332 thousand people. “Fortunately, however, there has never been any extraordinary feature, so there was no need to make any of the atomic shelters,” says Petr Kalouš, maintenance engineer of the atomic shelters for Prague 8, 9 and 10.
Three days to stay
As we walk through the underground spaces, you can clearly hear the echoes of every step we take. The acoustics are really strong here, all the more so that the cover can be hermetically sealed a to increase his pressure enoughto be higher than natural. “This is because the pollutants from outside may not penetrate inside. It is certainly better if something escapes out of the shelter than the other way around, ”explains Koníček. The cover is designed for three-day stay. This is not so much because of the possible depletion of water, oxygen or possibly lack of hygiene.
Comrades have not forgotten anything, so it is available here several washrooms and toilets. The cover even has a small tank of water and a total five dug wells. In addition, air circulation is provided by a ventilation device that can be reset to the internal circuit in an emergency so that it will not occur. According to Koníček, the reason is simpler. People would not last mentally in cramped spaces underground, crammed on top of one another.
On the other hand, even in the recent past, there were apparently those who crawled voluntarily into the shelter – to steal what they could. “For this reason, it was necessary to weld the climbs to the Vítkov surface,” Kalouš explains. “Until then, it was a cover robbed in about 33 cases. I have already experienced the fact that thieves tried an armored pressure door angle grinder. Of course they didn't buy it. But it was worth all the attempts to find out what the door was hiding, ”the handyman shrugs.
This is how it looks in the anti-nuclear civil protection shelter in the Vítkov Hill.
Author: Martin Přibyl
There are several pressure doors in the western part of the housing. The function is clear – block the access paths to the cover. In the event of an emergency, this can be divided into two separate ones, even if one part is suddenly uninhabitable. There is one more interesting thing. If you ever walked through the Žižkov tunnel, you didn’t worry about why they were set up in it two large white niches – each at both ends? For the purpose of anti-nuclear protection, the Žižkov tunnel was also equipped, which has two thick reinforced concrete mobile lenses that can completely garden the tunnel. They are located exactly in the niches. But as in the case of covers, their use has never been fully tested.
This reinforced concrete lens was designed together with the Žižkov tunnel to block and hermetically seal it in an emergency. However, it has never been necessary.
Author: Martin Přibyl
The course of history can often be full of paradoxes. While the anti-atomic shelter under Vítkov was created to prevent the harmful effects of atomic radiation from penetrating into it, today in the second – unfinished – part of the shelter, which runs in one corridor towards the east, works Laboratory of the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Academy of Sciences with particle accelerator. Basically, you can say that there works just to make a change no harmful particles or radiation penetrated from under the Vítkov massif into the city. But this is indeed a prevention, as no accident has ever occurred.
“The branch office of the Academy of Sciences is already in operation since the 1970s“Explained the head of the so-called microtron laboratory David Chvátil. He most often works with his colleagues on identifying substances that scientists from different disciplines will provide. “For example, we have already detected the accelerator radiation origin of prehistoric bracelethow much nitrogen is present in the fungi, or reason of cracking of sausage casings, ”Concludes the scientist.