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The City of Prague Museum

The Reconstruction of the Historic Novomlýnská (New Mill) Water Tower - Stage 1

Updates and initial information

4. 8. 2017

In June 2017, our colleagues from The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo visited Prague. The working visit was grounded in the cooperation of the City of Prague Museum and the Norwegian counterparts which is supported by the bilateral grant from the Fund for Bilateral Cooperation at programme level of Financial Mechanisms of EEA and Norway Grants. It was connected with the study trip of The City of Prague Museum employees in Oslo. where they presented a lecture.  
Our colleagues from the National Museum – Architecture in Oslo, Norway, spent three days in Prague taking part in the rich bilateral programme ‘Museum Exhibitions in Historical Interiors’. Supported by the bilateral grant, the cooperation follows the project ‘The Reconstruction of the Historic New Mill Water Tower and its Opening to the Public – Stage 1’ (the tower opened to the public in April 2017) which was implemented especially owing to the EEA and Norway Grants, programme CZ06 – Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Art.



16. 5. 2017

New application in English coming soon.


30. 3. 2017

We are glad to announce that the scaffolding construction has been removed from the The New Mill Water Tower. At the time the new display Prague on fire is instaled and will be opened to the public April 25, 2017. 


8. 3. 2017

The exhibition The History of Fires and Fire Fighting Technology (Prague on Fire) will present the threat of fire for Prague many centuries ago as well as in recent times. Furthermore, the methods used by the metropolis residents to defend against the destructive element will be presented along with the development of technical solutions and the institutional establishment of fire fighting.

The exhibition will open April 25, 2017. 


16. 11. 2016

Ongoing construction works since September are concentrating mainly on the tower´s shell - renovating the stones, stonemanson and carpenter works. At the same time there are intesive renovation works inside the tower, where the future exhibition is taking place. In the following days the contracts of funrniture delivery and audiovisual content of the exhibition will be signed. 


15. 11. 2016

The following two tenderers participated in the design contest: Gamaleon s.r.o. and Pink Productions s.r.o.

Based on the evaluation criteria, the jury pronounced the winner – Pink Productions s.r.o.

The putting of the design of the exhibition into practice, in particular the audio visual content, sound production, exhibition texts, multimedia and visual elements, designs of exhibition and orientation graphics, and other artistic content will include:
a) Creation and implementation of a detailed audio visual script of the entire exhibition including storyboard and proposed options of implementation/execution;
b) Creation of a draft project of the audio visual production (technical script);
c) Editing and proofreading of exhibition texts taking into consideration the comments of the client;
d) Execution of the entire audio visual content and sound production of the exhibition in compliance with the approved script, including but not exclusively, the execution of audio visual and sound recordings and animations, taking artistic and technical pictures, and post-production;
e) Creation of the required artistic and illustration designs;
f) Creation of artistically fully-fledged language mutations in Czech and English, for all the audio visual content, sound production, exhibition texts, and other verbal expressions within the exhibition ‘History of Firefighting and Fires in Prague’;
g) Music production including copyright compositions needed for the exhibition;
h) Ensuring full coaction and full compatibility of the multimedia and artistic solutions with other related professions including individual trials prior to the final execution;
i) Elaboration of the graphic concept design and its presentation to the client, handing over the final design to the client after the incorporation of the client’s comments;
j) Overall graphic layout including technology execution confirmation;
k) Preparation of print format (materials for printing) and its presentation to the client, handing over the final materials to the client after the incorporation of the client’s comments.

The winning audio-visual concept of the new display The History of Fires and Fire Fighting Technology Pink Productions s.r.o is available HERE

The audio-visual concept from Gamaleon s.r.o., which took the second place, is available HERE

Authors of the concept from Gamaleon s.r.o.:
Jakub Deml, Anna Krtičková, Dalibor Naar, Petra Svoboda,
Výtvarné řešení a grafické řešení:  Petr Novák (aka Ticho722), Radka Martincová, Anna Krtičková, Josef Prokop, grafické studio Pixl-e (Filip Mond, Pavlína Doležalová)


19. 9. 2016

As part of the next stage of the project, the tender was finished for the selection of a supplier of building and restoration works in 2016 and 2017 to complete the overall historical renewal of the New Mill Water Tower. The new contractor is AKANT ART Company. The contract for work was signed on 30 August and the place of performance was handed over on 1 September 2016. The construction works will continue until January 2017.


9. 6. 2016

The City of Prague Museum in cooperation with the Bergen City Museum and the Czech National Committee of ICOM organised a Czech-Norwegian workshop The City Museums and Presentation of the History of Fires and Fire Fighting Technology on 9 June 2016. The day’s workshop took place at the main building of the City of Prague Museum on Na Poříčí 52 Street in Prague 8 and primarily focused on bilateral cooperation between the City of Prague Museum and the Bergen City Museum as part of the EEA and Norway Grants which focuses on the presentation of the history of fires and fire fighting technology.

Photos HERE


15. 1. 2016
In order to ensure the authenticity of the tower, a new conservation-restoration method for the stone façade was laid down in 2015, which is supported by the representatives of the State Monument Care.
This new method would bring about changes in the contract with the current supplier, Bau Plus a.s., and the increase of price in all new JRBU by more than 30%. As a result, the investor and supplier agreed to terminate their Contract for Work.
In connection with this situation, the City of Prague Museum is currently preparing a new implementation and tender documentation for the construction part of the New Mill Water Tower Monument Renovation. The tender to identify a new supplier will take place from March to June 2016. The beginning of the construction work is scheduled for July 2016. All the work, i.e. the construction and preparation of the permanent exhibition, will be finished by 30 April 2017. The tower shall open to the public on May 2017.


The New Mill Water Tower passed to the City of Prague Museum’s administration in 2013. It is currently closed to the public due to serious disrepair. At the beginning of 2014, the tower shell had to be covered with nets for security reasons. Prior to this, the shell was inspected by experts who removed loose sandstone fragments with the help of climbing technology. In 2014, the EEA and Norway Grants approved the City of Prague Museum’s request for subsidy – in 2015 the first stage of the historical reconstruction will begin. The project documentation for the reconstruction was prepared as part of the request in 2014. Furthermore, a public tender was announced to find contractors specialising in building and restoration.
The adjacent facility is being leased to the Volunteer Fire Department of Prague 1; therefore, the planned exhibition will focus on Prague fire fighters.

The EEA and Norway Grants 2009–2014 programme is based on the Memorandum of Understanding on the Implementation of EHP Financial Mechanisms signed by Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Kingdom of Norway, and the Czech Republic in 2011. This program continues with the EEA and Norway Grants 2004–2009. The subsidies provided by these grants are designed to reduce economic and social disparities of 16 new EU member states (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Portugal, Spain, Malta, Greece, and Cyprus).

The project referred to as “The Reconstruction of the Historic Novomlýnská (New Mill) Water Tower and its Opening to the Public – Stage 1” was endorsed within the first open call by EEA Grants 2009–2014, programme CZ 06 – Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Art, the Programme Sphere 16, “Preservation and Revitalisation of Cultural Heritage” which was announced on March 21, 2014. The focus of Programme Sphere 16 is the protection, reconstruction, and presentation of movable and immovable cultural heritage and included four areas: Museum Collections, Written Cultural Heritage, Film Heritage, and Historic Preservation.
Altogether, 209 project applications were submitted; only 26 were successful. This indicates the high quality of the project and application submitted by the City of Prague Museum.
Non-governmental organisations, public institutions (state, regional, municipal, and state-funded organisations, etc.), religious institutions, and other legal entities were entitled to apply for EEA Grants within the PO 16 during the first open call.
The allocated amount for the first open call was CZK 393,526,996, i.e. EUR 15,868,024.
The Financial Mechanism Committee (FMC), the transnational management structure of the EEA and Norway Grants 2009–2014, is the decision-making authority for EEA Grants. The committee was established by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA ­­– Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland) as an authority responsible for efficient and correct management and the drawing of finances provided by the EEA Financial Mechanism. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the decision-making authority for the Norway Grants. The Financial Mechanism Office is the Brussels-based secretariat for the EEA and Norway Grants.
The Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic is the National Focal Point; the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic is the programme partner.
The EEA and Norway financial mechanisms are significant contributors to the protection and long-term preservation of Czech cultural heritage.

Download flyer in pdf format >


As early as the 14th century, there were water mills on the site of today’s Nové mlýny (New Mills) Street where a road leading from the Gothic Church of St Clement turns towards the Vltava River. The mills were called New, as recorded in 1484. In addition to the New Mills, there were Lodní (Ship), Helmovské, and Lodecké Mills nearby. Most of them were razed in the early 20th century, depriving Prague of outstanding Renaissance architecture of a technical nature.

The water tower, which used to supply the lower New Town, is the only reminder of the original mills. The tower must have been erected after 1602 because in that year the provincial millers demanded that the New Town Council build new waterworks at New Mills. The water tower was equipped with a covered lookout platform with twelve windows; the space between them was decorated with portraits of Bohemian princes and kings from Přemysl the Ploughman to Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. A similar depiction of Czech statehood appeared in an earlier sacral building, the Romanesque rotunda of St Catherine in Znojmo, featuring an unknown artist’s paintings of the Přemyslid rulers on the walls.

Regrettably, the lavishly decorated Late Renaissance tower was damaged on February 6, 1655 by a huge flood which led to the tower’s demolition. However, a new water tower was erected soon after. Emperor Ferdinand III even issued a decree on July 19, 1655 cutting the New Town taxes by 9,000 guldens and allowing the councillors to build a new water tower. In 1658, the tower was re-built in a Baroque style, but retained some original fragments. The recordings of 1827 reveal that the water tower was equipped with a new delivery facility. The water tower closed in 1877 while the nearby waterworks remained in operation until 1910. In 1878, the Dolejší (Lower) Waterworks was thoroughly reconstructed by the city of Prague.

The current appearance of the tower originated in 1658. It was built of quarried stone and covered with sandstone ashlars. There is a window on each floor; the top (sixth) floor, which used to be a water tank, has three windows on each wall. The tower has a tented roof with a copper spike on the top.



Coming Display

Display on Prague Fire Fighters and Fires in Prague to be installed in the Novomlýnská (New Mill) Water Tower

Expected opening date of the display is mid-2016.

The display is designed to feature everyday life of Prague fire fighters in the past, both the professional fire brigade established in 1853 and the volunteers who have been a remarkable part of local social life for many decades. Exhibits provided by the City of Prague Museum collection (e.g. fire fighters’ helmets, hoses, axes, and rescue knives) along with modern technology will give the visitors an illustration of the fire fighters historical gear designed to combat conflagrations. Moreover, a working fire telegraph will be displayed and visitors will have a chance to master a wide range of speaking trumpet orders, command the fire fighter brigade using the steam powered fire engine, and learn about the diet of fire fighters staying in the barracks.

The City of Prague Museum, as well as its partner memory institutions, Prague City Archives and National Museum, will further provide many works of art with suggestive depictions of the major fires in Prague. Destructive fires of Prague Castle in 1541 and 1855, the 1689 fire which affected the Old and New Towns, the 19th century fire of the northern tower of the Church of Our Lady before Tyn (1819), and the burning of Prague mills were portrayed in graphic sheets prior to the invention of photographs. Lithography and photography captured the scene when the National Theatre was set ablaze on August 12, 1881. Furthermore, reflections of fire disasters in occasional songs will be presented (V. Šata: Truchlozpěv nad zříceninami Národního divadla, J. Polívka: V rumech slávy, příležitostná píseň).

Many volunteer and professional fire fighters protected Prague from natural disasters; however, their professional and personal lives are often forgotten. Therefore, it is worthwhile to introduce some of them to visitors. The City of Prague Museum collection enshrines historical objects of the Prague fire fighters’ commander, Josef Lamer, who held this position from 1857 to 1881, resigning shortly after the National Theatre fire. Similarly, collection items associated with the Smíchov fire fighters Hugo Demartini and František Šarbach will be displayed.

Contact information

The City of Prague Museum
Kožná 1, 110 00 Prague 1

IČO: 064432

Statutory representative:
PhDr. Zuzana Strnadová

Investment Manager:
Ing. Miloslava Hrdličková
tel.: +420 221 012 926

The Reconstruction of the Historic Novomlýnská (New Mill) Water Tower and its Opening to the Public – Stage 1

Press releace to download >

City Museums and Presentation of the History of Fires and Fire Technology

Press releace to download >

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