Botic drain revisited - Prague May 2004
In May 2004 I visited Prague again. I decided to finish the exploration of the Botic drain. I walked almost the whole route now. Still - 200 meters are missing. Maybe next time? - The rest of the walk - from 2003 - is presented on this page: Prague_Botic1

This is where I left off last time. I took tram 6 to the east of Prague and picked up the old trail at Vrsovice. Here I'm under the Petrohradská road. The Botic makes a turn to the south and I follow it - all the time I'll be going upstream.

The bridge leads into a (locked) back entrance of the stadium of the FK Bohemians Praha. Some people were walking their dogs and one stray cat gave me a quick look and ran away.

There was still heavy car and tram traffic on the Vrsovická. Just behind the stadium I crawled through some bushes and descended to the weast side of the Botic.

Here I found a wide and accesible drain oozing a milky fluid. It didn't smell too bad and I could have gone in - but my first priority was to walk all the way to the end of the Botic.

Insects were sweeping through the drain. Deep down in the drain I heard the sound of a streetcar - or was it a waterfall? A few meters to the right there was a smaller, dry drain.

I crossed under the Vrsovická and continued upstream. Here the sides of the stream became uncomfortable - so I crawled up towards the normal pedestrian walkway along the K Botici street.

There was another drain entrance - and I seemed to hear streetcar sounds from this one too.

A typical East European scene, slightly reminiscent of scenes from the Half-Life computer game. We cross the road U Seradiste ("at the switchyard").

Here is another drain at the east side of the stream. It is dry and high, but it might be blocked by debris. I could not see it well - I didn't have a flashlight with me.

We pass under the railtrack (it goes on to Praha Vrsovice station) and stumble upon a nice waterfall and very urban looking stairs.

A nameless path with scrap metal shops along the side.

On the left is a company called Napako. They're even on the map, but I don't know what they make. The sign says (literally): "It is forbidden to enter the grass covered surfaces."

Again a sudden change of scenery. We enter a nice residential area (Adamovská). Groups of youths sat on the railing of the stream - I was too shy to film them ...

Then I crossed uder the broad Nuselská street. A nice dilapidated spot. I noticed it was getting darker - I would have to hurry.

I emerged in a strange place, combining monumental architecture and old buildings. I thought: "Only the communists could have made such weird architectural combinations."

A nice, but old concrete walkway followed the stream. It didn't look like there would be many side drains here. But I wasn't bored - a lot of interesting buildings.

A protestant church (Husúv Sbor) and an almost Swiss looking village house. The narrow path has it's own name U Michelského Mlýna ("at the water-mill of Michle").
The the stream makes a sharp turn to the east. This is a very strange place - it looks like a country village - and the historic water-mill ruins are just one wall away.

Then, suddenly we emerge in modern times, with shops, tram lines and high rise buildings. The stream makes a few turns.

In a forgotten corner lie the remains of a burnt building.

Again a weird place with sheds and small industry. A few small hills in the background. A rickety bridge crosses the stream.

A tiny drain exits under another wooden bridge. It's really a monumental high-rise building. Typical bleak communist design.

The stream turns right and the street turns left. I didn't like the bushes along the stream (I'm afraid of ticks) so I left the stream and followed the street (U Botice). I intended to pick up the stream at the next side street (U Hellady).

The Hellada must be an old factory, because it's even on the map. But the main building is owned by Tonak - a hat factory. Who buys hats nowadays?

And this is the street where I intended to pick up the stream again (U Hellady). But now it was getting dark and on this street corner two darkish men were arguing in an unknown language. So I didn't dare to go into this dark, deserted street with my video camera.

NOTE: In 2006 I received an e-mail reprimanding me about the above sentence and I agree with it. You can read it here. I thought it more appropriate not to remove the sentence, but to publish the reprimand below.

So now I had lost the stream, because here it disappears under the railway embankement and the huge switchyard (Odstavné Nádrazí Praha Jih). I continued my way - a bit frustrated at my own cowardice - but determined to come back later.

I followed the road U Plynárny ("at the gasworks") and passed under the railway. The switchyard was very accesible and looked interesting but I wanted to use tha last light to find the place where the stream emerges onto the terrain of the gasworks.

But unfortunately this area was blocked by a gate and two night-wachtmen, who were quite decent but who wouldn't let me in. They were surprised that I wanted to look at the stream - I had the impression that they didn't even know that the stream ran through their territtory. Now it was late - my wife was waiting for me so I called it a day. I waited for a tram and when it arrived it was completely dark.

Next day I was back. I crossed the dangerous traffic of the Chodovská and soon found the drain where the Botic leaves the area of the gasworks (Prazská Plynárenská). Again it looked like an easy drain - just some scrambling through the bushes and a nice broad walking area along the stream.

There was also an interesting deserted building. But I had to move on ...

On the other side of the Chodovská the stream takes on an almost natural and pastoral atmosphere - if you can ignore all the tins and old tyres that litter the streambed.

What a contrast if you look back at the chimneys of the gasworks. I followed a narrow path through the bushes - suddenly I heard music - two homeless men were camping along the stream. They had a campfire and a radio. It was playing "No woman, no cry". This sounded very much out-of-place in an East-European country.

Then - when I thought nothing exciting would happen anymore - I saw this concrete embankment and a bridge, not far from the Zábehlická road.

Here the stream disappears under another branch of the same switchard. With rubber boots the tunnel should be accessible. A round side drain also enters the stream.

Again an easily accessible switchyard with curious rail material and ancient looking trains. Probably they store all their old railjunk here.

This is the other end of the tunnel where the stream exits fom the switchyard. This is at the crossing of the Zábehlická and Jizní Spojka (E55).

This is an interesting and photogenic area. If you follow the path down to the trains you can walk a sandy path along the switchyard. The stream is broad and slow here.

And this is where - I think - the most interesting part of the Botic ends. According to the map the stream continues for several kilometers through green fields - no more industry, no more tunnels, no more side drains. But it was a terrific walk through interesting parts of Prague - I have never seen such a varied cityscape.

Now we make an aerial jump of five kilometers to fill the last missing piece of the stream. This is where the Botic exits into the river Vltava. This exit leads into a 900m long tunnel that passes under the castle of Vysehrad.

This is a part of the river that most tourists never visit, but it is interesting and very varied. This road tunnel has a lot of interesting nooks and crannies, and some parts might even be climbeable.

And the old railroad bridge - still in use - is a cool piece of industrial archaeology. The Botic exits almost directly under this bridge.

Here it has turned into a broad an deep stream that would need a boat to navigate. Next time - "deo volente" - I will explore more of the side drains and tunnels. - The rest of the walk - from 2003 - is presented on this page: Prague_Botic1

hi great webpage, a very good resource for all European urban explorers however, I think you should remove what I consider a quite racist remark. When exploring the Botic drain in Prague you say (link : "But now it was getting dark and on this street corner two darkish men were arguing in an unknown language. So I didn't dare to go into this dark, deserted street with my video camera."

I think that the colour of the skin of those two men is irrelevant. You are implying that the dark colour of the skin was a factor that made you afraid and decide not to go into that area. I think you should remove the work "darkish". It's offensive to associate colour of skin to danger/fear. Dark skinned people are not monsters or criminals (of course some of them are, just like some of the fairer skinned people) Thanks

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January 2005