COMMUNIST MONUMENTS

1. Žižkov TV Tower

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The city’s most hated building among Praguers was built between 1985 and 1992, and was intended, so the rumour goes, to jam foreign radio signals or emit nefarious radiation. Its utilitarian design aside, however, the 216-m (709-ft) tower offers spectacular views of the city skyline on a clear day.

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The soaring Žižkov TV Tower

2. National Memorial on the Vítkov Hill

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After a failed attempt to embalm President Klement Gottwald after his death in 1953, the Communist government was forced to cremate their favoured leader. His ashes, as well as those of various other apparatchiks, were buried atop Vítkov Hill, behind the giant 1950 bronze equestrian statue of Jan Žižka, which is the largest equestrian statue in the world. They were removed after the Velvet Revolution. Today the monument serves as a museum of Czech and Czechoslovak history (see National Memorial on the Vítkov Hill).

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National Memorial on the Vítkov Hill

3. Strahov Stadium

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Prague Castle would fit inside this massive arena situated on Petřín Hill. Built in 1955 for the purposes of spartakiáda physical culture performances, this structure was the first concrete panel building in Czechoslovakia. Today, the stadium serves as a training centre for the AC Sparta football team. Some popular bands have also held performances here, much to the delight of local kids.

4. Letná Plinth

prac_info Letenské sady, Letná

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Where sculptor V Karel Novák’s giant metronome now swings there once stood a massive, 14,000-ton statue (see Letná Park) of Joseph Stalin – the largest in the world and visible from all over the city – backed by a queue of admiring citizens. Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev ordered the statue to be destroyed by a series of dramatic dynamite explosions in 1962. Pop star Michael Jackson launched his 1996 World Tour in Prague, unwisely erecting a statue of himself on the very same spot.

5. Congress Centre

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Since its partial reconstruction in 2000, this has become one of the most modern congress centres in Europe. The excellent acoustics in the Congress Hall make this one of the best concert venues in the world, comparable to the famous halls of London, Montreal and Boston. The centre has capacity for close to 10,000 visitors and is used for a range of events.

6. Anděl Metro Station

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In the reconstruction of the Anděl Centre, developers removed an epic mosaic tribute to the friendship between Moscow and Prague, but from the metro platforms below, you can still see frieze tributes to Soviet cosmonauts. Even if you’re not riding the metro, you will need a standard ticket to access the platform.

7. Sbratření

prac_info Vrchlického sady

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This 1947 bronze statue by Karel Pokorny recalls the Red Army’s liberation of Prague in 1945: a grateful resistance fighter greets a Soviet foot soldier with a bunch of lilac and a, presumably brotherly, kiss. Inspired by a photograph taken in 1945 by Karel Ludwig, this is one of the few pro-Soviet monuments still standing in Prague.

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Sbratření or Brotherhood

8. Czech Radio Building

prac_info Vinohradská 12, Vinohrady • Closed to the public

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Warsaw Pact tanks invaded the Czech capital in 1968 to put an end to Alexander Dubček’s Prague Spring liberalization. Among those who paid for their resistance with their lives were Czech Radio journalists, who first broadcast the news that the nation was under attack. A plaque in front of the building honours their bravery.

9. Museum of Communism

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This museum seeks to help visitors experience totalitarianism first hand through reproductions and genuine objects from the Communist era. The most chilling is the reconstructed interrogation room. Although locals might not agree, the tour is more fun than it sounds.

10. New Building of the National Museum

prac_info Vinohradská 1, New Town • Open 10am–6pm daily • Adm • www.nm.cz

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From its construction in the 1970s until the country split into the Czech and Slovak republics in 1993, this unnamed building housed Czechoslovakia’s Federal Assembly. It was home to Radio Free Europe from 1994 to 2009, and now hosts exhibitions of the National Museum.

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Exterior of the new Building of the National Museum

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