Thousand-year flood remembered on Kampa

An exhibition of photos in public shows the effects of the water 15 years ago

It has been 15 years since Prague was hit by the biggest flood in hundreds of years, larger even then the flood of 1845, which collapsed part of Charles Bridge. It is colloquially called the thousand year flood.

To mark the anniversary, an exhibition of 20 panels has been placed on Kampa Island, one of the areas that was heavily affected. The panels show photos of the city under water including shots from helicopters and images of the almost submerged bridges.

The exhibition is in public in the pedestrian zone of Kampa. It will officially open Aug. 16 with a ceremony at 4:30 pm, but it can already be seen. It will be on display until Sept. 30.

The flood lasted from Aug. 8 to 19, but its impact on the city was much longer. Parts of the metro system were flooded and required extensive repairs. Water washed up through the sewer system into basements and buildings throughout Old Town. Low lying areas such as Karlín saw extensive damage to buildings, and some empty lots still remain as a result. But other areas have been rebuilt with modern structures. The military archives at Invalidovna was devastated and the inside is still in disrepair. Many of the rare books and records affected by the water were frozen so they could be thawed later and repaired.

Prague Zoo had flooding that cost the lives of several animals, including the 12-year-old seal named Gaston, who tried to swim to freedom by died of exhaustion just after he was recaptured. His son, Meloun, survived, and the zoo now has Gaston's grandchildren. The lower part of the zoo has been completely rebuilt and Prague Zoo now ranks among the world's best.

The city is now better prepared for floods. An introductory message to the exhibition by Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) gave some background. She said the floods in Moravia and Silesia in 1997 showed that the country was not prepared. Steps were made after that, but clearly these were not sufficient.

“Few, however, expected that in just five years something similar would take place directly in our capital city. The inundation, which hit Prague in 2002, was almost unprecedented,” she said.

“It was only the terrible images of the city and the metro flooded with water that convinced the city and state authorities that it was necessary to take flood defense in Prague seriously,” she said.

She praised the emergency services and others for their efforts in saving lives. “Even today I look with admiration on the work of all who participated in the management of this crisis and mitigation of its aftermath,” she said.

She pointed out that a new system of flood control barriers helped to keep the floods in 2013 causing history to repeat itself. The barriers, which are temporary walls that can be quickly attached to permanent mountings on the street, were a “good investment,” she added.

“We can assume that floods will come again into the capital, and we have no other choice than to be prepared for it in the best possible way,” she concluded.

Flooding hit more than 5.8 percent of the city's surface area, including the most important urban infrastructure and most densely populated areas. The flood affected Prague districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 12, and such areas as Suchdol, Lysolaje, Chuchle, Radotín, Zbraslav, Lipence and Troja.

Some 48,470 people were evacuated from these urban areas, out of a population of more than 1.2 million. The most affected areas were Prague 7 and Prague 8.

The total damage amounted to nearly Kč 30 billion, of which Kč 15 billion was to city property, including Kč 7 billion in damage to the metro.

Video on YouTube

Related articles

Facebook comments

Ristorante Casa de Carli

Authentic Italian cuisine in Prague

The James Joyce Irish Pub

Best Irish Pub in Prague

Pražské Benátky

Enjoy Prague from a different view

Pražské Benátky

The Prague Venice company

Balloon Adventures Prague

Welcome to the ballooning world!

Prague Boats

Prague river cruises – popular Prague tourist attractions


Escape rooms in Prague

Prague’s # 1 source for Czech news in English…