Exhibition looks at Prague's fires (Praha hoří!)

A new museum venue has opened at the New Mill Water Tower

The New Mill Water Tower (Novomlýnská vodárenská věž) is now open to the public and has a new multimedia exhibition called Prague on Fire. The tower, located at Nové mlýny 827/3A in Prague 1, is a new venue of the Municipal Museum of Prague.

The exhibition presents images of some of the most significant fires such as the one at that destroyed the original National Theatre in 1881 or the Týn Church towers in 1679 and 1819. A large blaze engulfed much of Old Town in 1689. French agents hired a semi-literate person to start several fires around the city. Some 400 people died, while 820 houses were destroyed and 200 were badly damaged.

Another extensive fire was in Malá Strana in 1541, which started with an accidental roof fire in Malostranské náměstí. Over 20 people died and 200 homes were destroyed.

Fittingly, since the exhibit is in a water tower, it includes information on the role of the city's towers in firefighting. Space in the tower is limited and the conditions are not ideal for some types of art, so the venue will have to take a more modern approach.

The Prague on Fire exhibit tries to connect with especially younger visitors by including virtual reality, projections, videomapping and video art. Visitors, for example, can see what it would have been like inside the National Theatre during the famous fire. The exhibition also looks to the future of fire and firefighting.

People who make it all the way to the top of the tower can experience the view of the city from a new vantage point, as there are windows on the higher levels.

The tower came under the control of the Municipal Museum in 2013. It was not in condition to allow for visitors, and needed some renovation. The tower ceased to be used to store water in 1877, following changes to the Prague sewerage system.

A tower on the site is first mentioned in 1484, but at that time it was wooden and even though it contained water it caught fire several times. The stone structure was erected in the middle of 17th century. As the tower's name implies, it supplied water to a mill and also to the New Town area.

For more information, visit www.muzeumprahy.cz

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