Municipal waterworks (system of underground canals), Prabuty
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Municipal waterworks (system of underground canals)



It is a unique example of the art of Baroque engineering, one of few preserved industrial monuments in the Kwidzyń district.


On 13 May 1722 in Prabuty, another fire broke out and caused particular damage to the western part of the town, with the castle and the co-salled Polish church. During the reconstruction of the destroyed buildings, the authorities decided to improve the water supply conditions of the town. A grant given by Frederick William I, the king of Prussia, amounting to 10,000 thalers, helped in the implementation of the undertaking. In 1726-1730 a system of underground canals, with four tanks allowing to draw water in the four corners of the market square, was built (additional works were carried out in 1753). Hindersin, a master builder, undertook to implement the project. The waterworks used to provide water from the nearby Raniewo and perhaps from the Młyńskie Lake, dried in the 19th century. In the 19th century, the wells in the corners of the market square in Prabuty were replaced with pumps.

Since December 2012, the canals of the waterworks have been lit; apart from being a tourist attraction, it is also practical during the conservatory works.


The 18th-century municipal waterworks canals are located approx. 3.5 meters under the surface of the eastern-central part of the Old Town. The entrance to the underground canal is situated in the eastern section of the medieval town wall, on the Rej street axis. Steep stairs along the northern façade of the building at 1 Wałowa street lead to the level of the canal exit.

This Baroque engineering construction constitutes a system of underground canals built on reversed F-shaped plan. The longest (approx. 120 meters) canal runs from the east to the west under Reja street; from that canal, two canals of a length of approx. 45 meters (east) and 42 meters (west) radiate perpendicularly at Kraszewskiego street and Prusa street. The ends of the shorter canals located under the corners of the market square lead to underground cylindrical water tanks.

The barrel-vaulted tanks and canals are made of brick and stone. In the flooring of the canals, there is a lowered ditch with a rectangular cross section. The height of the canals varies from approx. 1.7 to 2.3 meters. They are approx. 1.2-1.3 m wide and their walls are 0.7-0.8 m thick. The diameter of the water tanks is approx. 4.0 meters, and the height from the bottom to the street level is 5.0 meters. Previously, there were wells above each tank on the market square level. Later, they were replaced with pumps. The water level in the tanks was visible through special openings. The walls of the canals has special niches and handles for lamps and torches.

The entrance to the canals is located in the stone wall, the entrance opening has a semicircular top section and is framed with brick. In the opening, there is a plain two-wing gate made of metal grid.

The monument is accessible from 1 June to 31 August upon prior telephone appointment (phone No. 884 800 115).

compiled by Teofila Lebiedź-Gruda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 24-09-2014.


  • Barganowski A., Michalik H., Przewodnik po Powiślu. Powiat kwidzyński, Kwidzyn 2007, s. 125-133.
  • Michalik H., Prabuty od połowy XVII do końca XIX wieku [w:] Prabuty. Zeszyty Kwidzyńskie, z.6, Kwidzyn 2001, s. 30.

General information

  • Type: industrial architecture
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wałowa 1, Prabuty
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district kwidzyński, commune Prabuty - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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