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The Žižka Monument

by Jeff on July 25, 2006 · 3 comments

The Žižka National Monument sits atop Vítkov Hill in the Žižkov district of Prague. The large statue that dominates it was built to commemorate the Hussite warrior Jan Žižka (1360? – 1424) and was completed in 1932. It is supposedly the largest equestrian statue in the world. From this area, there is a great view of Žižkov and other parts of Prague.

The communists made their mark on the complex. At one point it contained the mausoleum of Klement Gottwald, who was the first communist president of Czechoslovakia.

Zizka Monument

Zizka Monument

Zizka Monument       View of Zizkov

Photos © jeffshanberg.com

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jesse September 8, 2006 at 10:49 am

I know it’s bizarre, but this is one of my favorite monuments in Prague. The bizareness (not only the history, but also the architecture) is what makes it so interesting for me. Not to mention that the horse is gigantic, and there are giant braziers to match. Thanks for the wonderful photos!

RAW October 16, 2006 at 6:27 pm

Its not bizarre at all. This is a wonderful example of 1930’s Brutalist architecture in Prague (perhaps even the world). However I think the entry to the competition to design this monument by cubist masters Otto Gutfreund and Pavel Jamak would have a been a lot more spectacular. When Czech people come to terms with their recent past, they will come to love this monument also. It is an important part of architectual history and an amzing building (you have to go inside to really understand it’s awe).

Jesse November 1, 2006 at 12:08 am

A wonderful example of Brutalism, eh? Well, it may be an exemplar of brutalism but I’m not sure I ever would’ve associated that style with wonder (except perhaps as to why anyone found it compelling). As to the monument’s bizareness, perhaps I may have been referring more to its paradoxes than its actual style. I find the monument’s giant size incongruous with the way it goes almost unseen until pointed out. Many visitors to Prague never even notice it, and it’s very difficult to appreciate the inhuman scale of the building until actually standing next to it. The bizareness is increased by the monument’s uses (war memorial, shrine to the proletariat, mausoleum, abandoned hulk, etc). As the sign outside in February 2005 read, “the Monument’s destiny was lamentable.” But I suspect that whether Czechs have come to terms with their history or not has little to do with what they think of the building.

But most of the people I know think it’s bizarre that I find the monument intriguing.

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