Městská Elektrárna v Písku (Písek Electricity Museum) – Písek, Czechia - Atlas Obscura

Městská Elektrárna v Písku (Písek Electricity Museum)

Písek, Czechia

The oldest hydroelectric plant in Czechia is now a museum. 


The power plant’s origins begin with an electrical engineer named František Křižík. The inventor lit up Písek’s city center using arc lamps on June 23, 1887, making Písek the first Bohemian urban center with public electric street lighting. In 1888, after modifications were made to the Podskalský Mill so that its rudimentary water wheels could produce electricity and the power plant came to life. 

In 1901, Písek’s Městská Elektrárna was equipped with Francis turbines, which used fixed blades to channel water at optimal angle. The turbines were so ingenious that even today most hydroelectric power plants still use versions of Francis turbines.

Městská Elektrárna underwent renovations and opened to the public as a museum in 1997. If the machinery is not functioning, the museum attendant can turn it on. Though now outdated, it remains a marvel of mechanical ingenuity. Alongside mechanical equipment, the museum also has an interesting display of objects such as figurines, matchboxes, and tiles brought together by one common theme: electricity.