Exhibition of Lamps and Historical Public Lightning Begins on Prague’s Mariánské Náměstí

The outdoor exhibition for the general public was prepared by Technology of the City of Prague, the municipal company which operates the city’s public lighting. Credit: 

Prague, 20 Oct (BD) – Since Thursday, Prague residents and visitors can visit a unique exhibition that commemorates 300 years since the first permanent lighting of the city with oil lanterns. The historical development of street lamps is illustrated by historical illustrations, photographs and interesting facts from the history of lighting. The exhibition on Mariánské náměstí, in front of the Prague City Hall, is open to the public until 15 November.

The outdoor exhibition for the general public was prepared by the municipal company which operates the city’s public lighting, Technology of the City of Prague (THMP) under the auspices of Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda and Councillor for Infrastructure Michal Hroza.

The exhibition panels are complemented by a functional installation with more than a dozen lamps typical for Prague streets from the 1960s to the present day. During the exhibition, the lamps will be lit from sunset to midnight every evening. The installation also includes a gas lantern and a “recognizer” for children with the slang names of the lamps.

“Walking through the past of public lighting in Prague is like opening a book of old Prague stories,” said Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, opening the exhibition. “Light has always contributed to the unique character of the city, and a number of historical lamps and masts still contribute to its unmistakable genius Loci. Prague residents and visitors to the metropolis discover it every day in the centre of our beautiful city. But few people realise that even light needs to be taken care of, and I thank those who take care of it in Prague.” 

“300 years is a beautiful anniversary and an extraordinary opportunity to look back at an interesting historical development that gradually brought light and safety to the streets of Prague,” said Hroza. “Today, the public lighting system is a key infrastructure of the city. With its development, it has grown to more than 140,000 lights and is undergoing another evolutionary change, as we are gradually replacing outdated sodium sources with more energy-efficient LED technologies and moving towards the use of lamps as smart devices.”

According to Tomáš Jílek, Chairman of the Board of THMP, public lighting is a remarkable phenomenon. “Through the exhibition, we want to invite the general public into the colourful world of public lighting and show them what is involved in the care of city lamps and their restoration, and how historical monuments are illuminated,” he said. “We supplemented the exhibition with a display of interesting types of lamps that we renovated for this occasion. On display, for example, is a lamp known under the slang name laminate from the 1960s, 20-kilogram suitcase-type lamps and a turner that shone in Prague in the 1970s, or the so-called camel from the 1980s.”

As part of the exhibition, in cooperation with Prague City Tourism, a guided walk dedicated to the interesting historical lighting in the city centre will take place in November, as well as an experimental event at the Petřín lookout centre focused on the ceremonial lighting of Prague monuments. 

The program will conclude with a walk with a lamplighter through Prague’s lamp posts in cooperation with the Museum of Gas. The tercentenary celebrations were already started by Technologies of the City of Prague in June with a special lighting of the Petřín Lookout, which lit up in an animated form of fire symbolising the light of oil lanterns, and gradually also in several colours typical of the lights shining from Prague lamps from the past to the present.

THMP is the administrator and service partner of a wide range of technological systems in Prague. It currently employs almost 300 employees. The company’s flagship is the care of the public lighting network, but it also takes care of the city’s camera system, light signalling devices, traffic and telematics systems, and public clocks. For all technologies, it operates a non-stop unified dispatching centre for reporting failures and managing service interventions, of which it carries out over 25,000 per year. 

THMP also provides Christmas light decorations and illuminates Christmas trees. It is now involved in smart solutions for Prague in the field of e-mobility and photovoltaic power plants, and restores furniture at public transport stops. The stated goal of THMP is a functioning smart city that is pleasant for the lives of residents and its visitors.

Brno Daily Subscribe
Sign up for morning news in your mail