Metronome-Tourist Attraction in Prague?

After we were in Prague a month or so, we saw a huge metronome on the edge of the hill over looking the city. Why in the world would there be a 75-foot tall metronome erected on a rather majestic-looking site in Letna Park? After all, metronomes belong on pianos to keep time for your lesson.

After we saw it from across the river, we had to check it out. Built in 1991, this device was constructed as a tribute to industry over the last century. It was only intended to be a temporary display, filling in the empty platform of a much larger and supposedly long lasting statue.

In 1948 the Communists who were in control of Prague decided they wanted to build a monument honoring Joseph Stalin. They planned to put it on the crest of the hill overlooking the Vtlava River and center city of Prague. That way, all the people in Prague would see this 50 foot statue daily. This would be the world's largest likeness of their leader.

Stalin stood at the head of a column with four Czech people following him, making the statue 72 feet long. This massive monument wasn't unveiled until May, 1955 - two years after Stalin died. At the dedication, Nikita Khrushchev commented, "Too big, too late." During the de-Stalinization of the USSR, it became an embarrassment for the Communist party.

In November, 1962 this monstrosity was demolished with 800 kilograms of dynamite. A monument so prominent in Prague could not be blown up in secret, but the Party made sure that it was never reported in the press. It took a year to clear away all the debris from the explosions.

The platform and surrounding sidewalks and walkways in Letna Park were preserved after the detonation but sat empty for the next 29 years. Finally, the metronome was built there. Some people in Prague connect this saying with it: "So long as the metronome stands, all is well in Prague."

The large area, known as Stalin Square, today mainly sits empty. When we explored the park last summer, would-be rock climbers were practicing their skills on the fifteen-foot rock walls in front of the metronome. The paved area, behind the former statue, is now one of the iconic skateboard plazas in the world. It's used by young people to test out their skateboarding skills on the railings. 

The strangest site in the area is an electric wire with tennis shoes hanging from it. After a little research, I read that the skateboarders would throw a pair of shoes over the wire when they accomplished a move that had never been done before.

Today this tradition continues by some, but for other reasons. Seems silly to me. Why spoil the beautiful view over the city with shoes?

Information taken from Riowang blogspot Colossus


  1. Hi Connie! How can plan, but oh how the circumstances and end result of those plans can be! :)

    1. You're right. I keep thinking about how much money was wasted to build the monument and then tear it all down. Especially since people were probably always hungry back then in the communist countries.


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