Spying at Hotel Jalta

Saturday, February 21, 2015

If you were a Westerner of political or economic importance visiting Prague during the Communist Era, chances are you may have stayed at the glamorous Hotel Jalta on Wenceslas Square.

And if you stayed at the Hotel Jalta, chances are you were under covert surveillance. As in, the lint brush in the drawer was bugged.

We recently toured the underground chamber/nuclear bunker where the regime operated its Hotel Jalta spy surveillance and stored medical and military equipment in the event of an attack. It's easy to book; you just e-mail or call the hotel and they set you up with a local guide.

Descending into the bunker was like walking through a wormhole...

...and into a graveyard for wiretapping devices.

Our guide was brilliant; she was hugely knowledgeable and peppered the tour with personal anecdotes from her own family's experiences.

She encouraged us to handle some of the exhibit items, like this very heavy gun of some sort.

We also learned the system for recording/listening to hotel guests' phone calls...

 ...and crawled through a bunker tunnel that would have opened onto Wenceslas Square.

Apparently hotel staff didn't know what was underneath their establishment; they just saw men coming and going through an off-limits door and were told to keep their mouths shut. How fascinating to be privy to this slice of Cold War narrative today!

If you go...

Where: Jalta Hotel, Wenceslas Square 45/818

Reservations required: call 222 822 111 or e-mail  concierge@hoteljalta.com

Tickets: I think we paid 150kc each

Linking up with Pack Me ToChasing the DonkeyThe Fairytale TravelerA Southern Gypsy and Ice Cream and Permafrost for The Sunday Traveler.


  1. That is such an interesting tour! If I'm ever back in Prague I will certainly book it.

  2. I'm not at all surprised that Westerners visiting Prague during the communist era, were under surveillance. But I've never heard about this preserved relic of the activities of the Czechoslovak Secret Police although I've passed by the hotel on many occasions. It both looks & sounds like a fascinating place to visit & I will certainly seek to do so in the not too distant future.

  3. Ah that's so cool! It's like the huge Stalin building just a few buildings over from the US embassy in Moscow - the KGB took over a whole 2 floors just to spy :)

    Good times :)

  4. This is one of the more unusual tours I've seen - I love it! It totally looks like the set of some absurd spy-comedy.

  5. this sounds like such an amazing place to visit! so interesting. and i'm actually studying things like this at the moment, spying and cold war and stuff, haha! :-) x

  6. This is so cool! This kind of stuff is so fascinating to me. I checked out some underground bunkers in Okinawa, Japan and it was such an experience, but really eerie at the same time.

  7. this is fascinating! my husband would love exploring this place. thanks for showing us!!

    xo welltraveledwife.com

  8. Oh man, I'd be so freaked out not knowing what was underneath where I worked! Thanks for linking up to #SundayTraveler

  9. Wow, that's SO cool. I wish I had known about this. I totally would have visited then. Spy stuff is so fascinating - like right out of the movies except it actually happened. Mind blowing.

  10. whoa. this is the coolest! although, that tunnel gives me claustrophobia just looking at it!

  11. Very interesting. I considered a career with the CIA at one point and would love to play spy:)


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