The sparkling white water palace on the right bank of the River Vltava at Podoli is one of the most striking architectural affirmations in Europe of the benefits that a city derives from a supply of clean drinking water. The first waterworks in the area was built from 1882 for Vinohrady which until 1922 was a separate municipality. Between 1908 and 1913 a new supply was established from the River Jizera, but this was insufficient and an imposing new works was constructed in 1925-29. The concrete building in the neo-classical style was designed by the architect Antonin Engel (1879-1958) and is one of the most prominent landmarks seen by visitors who embark on river cruises in Prague. The works underwent a large-scale reconstruction from 1992 when a modern building was added. The works now supplies water to about 12 per cent of households in Prague, and also acts as a back-up to the city’s other waterworks.
During the reconstruction in the 1990s new accommodation was provided for the waterworks museum whose collection dates from 1952. Displays illustrate the history of water supplies in Prague from the twelfth century, through the Renaissance and the industrial developments of the nineteenth century to the present. The museum includes paintings of the waterworks by Josef Lada (1887-1957), best-known as illustrator of Jaroslav Hašek’s (1883-1923) The Good Soldier Švejk, who was also one of the sculptors who contributed statues representing Czech rivers that adorn the exterior of Engel’s building.