Credit: Pavel Gabzdyl

Žlutý Kopec Reservoirs Fully Open to Public

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From today the Žlutý Kopec Reservoirs finally opened fully to visitors, making all three sites accessible for the first time. The ceremonial opening took place in the presence of city representatives yesterday afternoon.

The three water tanks date back to the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century – the first one was built in 1873, the last one in 1917. During this period, Brno was a rapidly expanding industrial city with a growing population, largely composed of workers who came from the countryside. The reservoirs played a crucial role in supplying water to this ever-increasing population.

In the 20th century, other water sources replaced the Žlutý Kopec reservoirs, relegating them to a secondary option for emergencies until their definitive shutdown in 1997. Access to the area was restricted, and the old water tanks started being forgotten by most. However, engineer and Brno historical underground expert Aleš Svoboda recently launched a successful campaign to restore their memory and raise interest in their historical meaning.

In 2019, the area was declared a cultural heritage site. Soon after, despite interruptions due to lockdowns in following years, the water tanks underwent renovations and were gradually opened to the public until now, when finally the third and final one was made accessible to the public.

The renovations of the reservoirs, and the park above, were supported by a CZK 150 million subsidy from the City of Brno, and the reservoirs will continue to be operated by TIC Brno.

Credit: KIVA

“The reservoirs are a breathtaking structure,” said Brno city councillor for property Jiří Oliva, who was closely involved in the project. ”Although they were designed as a technical structure, underground water tanks, these magnificent spaces are rightly called underground temples. Making them accessible was not only a question of aesthetic modifications, but mainly a solution to fire safety. It was always necessary to build both the main entrance and escape exits. At the same time, the water reservoirs were electrified, which enables them to be lit for daily visitor traffic, as well as to plan cultural or other events in the premises. Brno is getting a unique tourist attraction, which I believe will be of comparable interest to Villa Tugendhat.”

“Every reservoir has its own character and mood,” said TIC destination manager David Pokorný. “One resembles a cathedral, another a sci-fi building, while the first one is the most mysterious. It’s impressive how water tanks that were not designed to be seen by the public can now become an attraction for thousands, even film producers.”

Credit: Encarni Martinez Lopez / BD

The visitor numbers are remarkable in this sense: in the last years only a few small group guided tours were available weekly and Brno’s citizens started to see it as an interesting but inaccessible cultural site due to constant sell-outs. Now that individual visits are finally possible, over 6,000 tickets have already been sold in advance, compared to a total of 32,000 visitors since 2019.

The reservoirs are open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm (last entry at 5pm). It’s still possible however to have a guided tour (in Czech) of the facilities, and foreigners can download an audio guide in English, German, or Polish on their phones that will lead them and explain the site’s history in an estimated 60-minute visit.

Group tours are possible by prior arrangement. Reservation and purchase of tickets is possible online, in TIC BRNO info centres and on the door. Tickets are released for sale one month in advance. A newly built lift allows the access of people with disabilities to two of the three water tanks.

Credit: Jiří Šebek

The park surrounding the area has also undergone a remarkable transformation and is now meant to represent a meeting point for the neighbourhood, while the whole area is going to serve, according to the organisers’ wishes, as a new cultural showcase, with exhibitions and performances being held.

According to Jana Janulíková, director of TIC Brno, projects are already being created for the reservoirs in cooperation with Brno artists and cultural institutions. “In cooperation with the Brno Film Office, we also offer space to film crews,” she added. “We have a film location of global proportions. And there are already requests from abroad from the most prestigious productions.”  

The first big cultural event is the opening weekend, the annual Prototyp visual effect festival, inaugurating the full opening of the reservoirs from today, World Water Day, until Sunday.

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