The brewery museum
In only a few minutes walking distance from the Republic Square lies the brewery museum. It is the only museum in the world located inside a building with an authorization for 'beer brewing' (or, which used to be authorized for brewing beer). It stems from the 15th century and has been kept in its original form. Still today, many characteristics of the building tell the story of its original function. You can, for example, visit the gothic malthouse, the oast-house as well as the taprooms. The museum shows exhibits representing the history of the brewery. This goes back to the Antique. Some of the exhibits are curiosities, such as the smallest beer mug in the world or the fully functioning model of a brewery, which produces up to 30 liters of beer per day. Visitors get an all-embracing insight into the processes of brewing beer as well as the culture of beer drinking. The interactive guided tour (with a minimum of 10 people) is especially worthwhile. On this tour, visitors can themselves operate the historical brewing machines.
The historic cellars
The brewery museum contains another treasure: the entrance to the historic basements of the city. The creation of this labyrinth of cellars started in the 14th century and has been continuously extended up until the 18th century. The cellars are up to three and four levels deep, and form a broadly-branched net of vaults, aisles and fountains. The whole cellar network comprises of 20 kilometers. A guided tour offers the unique possibility to enter Pilsen's medieval times. The vaults had been used as storage rooms as well as being used by craftsmen, who had their studios here. You can also find a printing press, which reminds of the oldest existing book of Bohemia from the year 1468. During renovations after the flood in 2002, a dipping machine was found, too. It stems from the second half of the 19th century. Today, the place of discovery contains a waterwheel.
The cold store
The tour begins in the so-called cold store. This is where the ice was stored for cooling purposes. Cold stores were usually located on the first level of a basement, as the cold melt water could drip into the underlying levels - where the fermentation and storage rooms were located - and kept them cool.
The cellars aisles
The cellar aisles were in the first place meant for storing food. They were also important for the brewmasters, as they stored the beer in the aisles so it could ferment and ripen. For these processes it was important, that the building was authorized for brewing purposes.
The cellars were of great importance to the citizens of Pilsen, as they offered access to fresh water. The basement maze originally contained 360 fountains and springs to supply the population of Pilsen. On the guided tour you will visit 20 of them.
Part of the city fortification
Last but not least, the cellars were very useful to the citizens of Pilsen during attacks or other disturbances. They could flee into and hide in the widely branched maze. However, the cellars did not only serve as storage places and refuge, they were also hidden linking paths: A big advantage against the enemy during the war. This made the basements an important part of the city fortification.
The water tower
House number 19 in Prague Street has a late gothic water tower. It was meant to fortify the Prague Gate next to it. The water works was operating up until the 19th century. The pumping station, the adits for the water inlet, as well as a replica of the water wheel can be visited on the tour. In the Middle Ages, the tower was integrated into the city wall and constituted a part of the city fortification.
By the way, at the end of the tour every participant over 18 gets a taster of the delivious Pilsen beer.
- The day pass at Pilsen's historic cellars and the brewery museum is CZK90 making it one of the 3 cheapest tourist Attractions in the Czech Republic.
How to get there
Drive along the A3 towards Nuremberg. At the motorway junction east (Autobahnkreuz Ost), change onto the A6 direction Prague. Leave this motorway at the exit 89 direction Most and follow the route 26. This will lead you to Pilsen.