Prague’s Metronome – and Communist Past

With a hand that is around 75 feet long (22.8 metres), the metronome that silently waves above Prague is impressive enough as it is. Its location is no random choice and reminds people of the Soviet influence of the past.

The metronome was built in 1991 just after the Iron Curtain fell. [1] You can walk right up to it in Letna Park (which I highly recommend for great views of the city and a lovely beer garden). If you do, you will notice that the area around the metronome is unused and almost derelict.

The Metronome - Prague, Czechia

The Metronome – Prague, Czechia

The site had previously contained a huge statue of Soviet leader Stalin which was unveiled on 1 May 1955 and took almost 6 years to build. [3] It loomed over Prague for seven years [1] [3] and must have been what people would think of when they suspected someone was watching them. Weighing 17,000 tons, this was the largest statue of Stalin in the world. [1] Stalin never saw the statue himself as he died two years before it was finished. [4]

When Khrushchev took over from Stalin, he started to de-stalinise the Soviet Union. This caused the local Czech Communist party to be embarrassed at having such a tribute to Stalin in their city. Khrushchev ordered this statue to be dynamited which it was in October 1962. [2] It took 800 kg of explosives to bring the massive statue down. [3]

The view from the Metronome - Prague, Czechia

The view from the Metronome – Prague, Czechia

The metronome was designed as a constant reminder of the time spent under communist control. [1]  In the 1990s, the plinth was used for an 11-metre high statue of Michael Jackson to promote his HIStory world tour. [3] Ideas to redevelop the area include using it for an aquarium [3] or perhaps linking it to the proposed National Library project near the park. Until then, skateboarders have taken over and happily while away long afternoons underneath what used to be the shadow of Stalin.

Do you know of any ill-advised statues or monuments? Leave a message below and tell us about them!

References

[1] Atlas Obscura, Prague Metronome, (Retrieved 2017)
[2] Wikipedia, Prague Metronome, 2016-12-10
[3] Wikipedia, Stalin Monument (Prague), 2017-03-13
[4] Pop Matters, The Red Metronome: Prague’s Communist Past, 2015-02-12

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