Stalin Monument (Prague)

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The Stalin Monument and pedestal, viewed from the west

Stalin's Monument was a 15.5 m (51 ft) granite statue honoring Joseph Stalin in Prague, Czechoslovakia. It was unveiled on 1 May 1955 after more than 5½ years of work, and was the world's largest representation of Stalin. The sculpture was demolished in 1962.

History

The monument was located on a huge concrete pedestal, which can still be visited in Letná Park. It was the largest group statue in Europe, measuring 15.5 m (51 ft) high and 22 m (72 ft) long. The sculptor was Otakar Švec, who killed himself a few days before the unveiling.[1]

The process of de-Stalinization began shortly after the unveiling of the monument. The monument, therefore, became an increasing source of embarrassment to the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, and was taken down with 800 kilograms (1,800 lb) of explosives.[1]

Later use of site

Metronome, a view from the East
Gates to nowhere

In 1990, pirate radio station Radio Stalin operated from a bomb shelter beneath the statue's plinth. The same shelter was also the home of Prague's first rock club in the early 1990s. Since 1991 the marble pedestal has been used as the base of a giant kinetic sculpture of a metronome. In 1996 the pedestal was briefly used as a base for a 35-foot-tall (11 m) statue of Michael Jackson as a promotional stunt for the start of his HIStory World Tour. A billboard promoting Civic Democratic Party leader Václav Klaus was erected on the site during the Czech parliamentary elections of 1998 but was removed soon after due to high winds.

A green plaque below the metronome reads:

Metronome
Letenské sady
The Metronome, the work of sculptor Vratislav Karel Novák, was erected in 1991 atop the massive stone plinth that originally served as the base for the monument to Soviet leader Josef Vissarionovich Stalin. Work began on Prague's Stalin monument towards the end of 1949, and in May 1955, it was finally unveiled. The largest group sculpture in Europe during its existence, the monument had a reinforced-concrete structure faced with 235 granite blocks, weighing 17,000 tonnes and costing 140 million crowns to complete. The gigantic composition, by sculptor Otakar Švec and the architects Jiří and Vlasta [his wife] Štursa, did not tower for long over the medieval centre of Prague: in connection with Soviet criticism of Stalin's "cult of personality," the work was dynamited and removed towards the end of 1962.

The City of Prague has been considering several options for redevelopment of the site for years, including a plan to build an aquarium.[2] The remaining socle is a popular meeting point for skateboarders.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Asiedu, Dita (3 May 2005). "World's biggest Stalin monument would have turned 50 on May Day". Radio Prague. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  2. ^ "An exercise in futility". The Prague Post. 19 December 2007. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  3. ^ Letná Park (praha7.cz)

External links

  • Article from Prague local about Stalin monument
  • 1990 Bomb shelter housing Stalin Club and pirat radio station, photo by Peter Lind

Coordinates: 50°05′41.38″N 14°24′57.97″E / 50.0948278°N 14.4161028°E / 50.0948278; 14.4161028

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