The historic water tower is located on the right bank of the Vltava River on the site of the former New Mills [Nové mlýny]. The tower is deemed to be Prague’s earliest lookout tower, thanks to the observation room on the top floor. At present, the Baroque tower hosts a permanent exposition dedicated to fires that afflicted Prague over the centuries and in more recent times.
The water tower in its present form was built in 1658. It supplied water from the Vltava River to the lower part of the New Town of Prague. Water from the river was first mechanically pumped into a holding tanks at the top of the tower, then fed through wooden pipes down the tower shaft to the ground floor, from where it was fed by other pipe to the city’s fountains and houses. The tower served its original purpose until 1877.
This heritage monument underwent a complete overhaul recently, and in 2017 became fit to open to the public for the first time. It houses an unusual topical exposition: “Prague on Fire”. It is designed around maximal use of multimedia elements – by means of videomapping, animations, video-art and virtual reality, the visitor is acquainted with the role of water towers, the theme of fire or tales of Prague firefighters. The exposition culminates with entry to the observation hall, which offers panoramic views of Prague.