Cerný Most - May 2003
The first drain that I found in Prague. It gave me - and my son - two very pleasant afternoons.
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Cerný Most (The Black Bridge, Prague 14) is the end station of metro line B (yellow). It is a 20 minute ride from the center of Prague. The metro line was laid in 1996. Both the metro and the city end here. I had noticed some interesting features when I came back from the mountains by bus, and I wanted to take a closer look.
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The whole area was built under the last years of Communist rule in 1976-1980. It is a combination of mass-produced late-communist housing and early-capitalist sprawling shopping centers. It looks like those chaotic north-Italian or American cityscapes. If you don't want to buy anything it's best to sit down and get drunk ...
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But although I like chaotic landscapes that was not what I had come for. From the bus I had seen that this must be drain country. I started exploring at the other side of the Prazský Okruh (Prague Ring Road, E65). Here the city stops abruptly and the country begins.
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There are hills, and fields and paths, almost wild country. Very interesting, but the only drain like objects were two culverts like this one.
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So I returned to the other side of the highway, walked along parking garages and a lot of new concrete. And then I climbed the high artificial hill where I met these two friendly urban mountain bikers.
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But from this height I saw this crossing. Here the Chlumecká road crosses the Chvalka brook I write this with the map and the history book beside me, at that moment I hadn't the faintest idea where I was and what I was looking at.
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A nice place to take a rest from the long walk. The builders had scratched their names in the wet concrete: Prkýnko Krivák (stavitel), Major Traverza Pokorný (majster).
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I followed the brook downstream. And finally found what I wanted.
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A real drain entrance. But I hesitated to go in. There were shouts coming from the drain: "Are they coming?" - "Let's get out of here!" - "What's happening?"
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When I walked around the drain I saw a group of friendly youths. They were fighting each other with Airsoft guns, shooting little yellow pellets. But my time was up - I had to go home.
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I came back a few days later with my son. We went inside and started exploring. The acoustics were awesome.
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We took the brick turn to the left. And entered the catchment basin.
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Then we took the right concrete pipe. And walked all the way to the end.
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Here the pipe was blocked by a steel cover. We couldn't see a lot. We only had this micro maglite. Not good enough.
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We went up and out. Notice the "techno entry" graffiti in the background. First we admired the mechanics, the walkways and the drowned shopping carts in the pool. There were even a few ducks.
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The small building was badly vandalized and rather uninteresting.
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But we discovered the metal cover that had blocked our way in the "techno tunnel". In fact the drain went on and it would have been possible to go on, but it was quite useless without a good light.
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Maybe the drain continues a long way into the fields. Anyway - it's an interesting location. It needs more exploring. If you come to Prague, please go and take a closer look!
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© Petr Kazil

August 2003