Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prague Metronome & Stalin Statue

A huge, functional metronome was built in Letná Park for a national fair in 1991. Designed by Vratislav Novak, it is 23 meters (75 feet) tall and monotonously ticks away as it overlooks the Vltava River. The area behind the metronome is popular with skateboarders. I heard that at one time the city wanted to put an aquarium there but nothing has ever really been done about it.

Today's metronome stands on the spot where there was once the world's largest statue of Joseph Stalin. The Stalin monument was a huge granite statue that took 5½ years to build. It was unveiled in 1955 and was 15.5 meters (51 feet) tall and 22 (72 feet) long. The sculptor, Otakar Švec, was pressured by the government to build it even though he received hate mail for it from Czech citizens. He committed suicide three weeks before the statue was unveiled.

The statue didn't last long...only 7 years. After Stalin was denounced by Nikita Krushchev the statue became an embarrassment to the Czechoslovakian Communist Party. So in 1962, with orders from Moscow, 800 kilos (1,763 pounds) of explosivses were used to blow up the monument.
A few years ago, Atlanta built the world's largest acquarium and it is awesome. So while, in my opionion, the metronome is better than the Stalin memorial, I love the idea of Prague losing the metronome and putting in an acquarium. But who know's if that will have happen?

1 comment:

  1. The statue in Prague used to have a lampooning nickname given by the Praguers - "a meat gueue" "fronta na maso" :-)

    And I'm too not very impressed by the metronome.