Prague is considering placing a planned museum documenting totalitarianism in the 20th century in Strahov Stadium. But before the landmark sports structure is repaired, the could be temporarily housed in the House of Pages near Prague Castle.
The idea was put forward by United Force for Prague, which includes the parties TOP 09 and STAN and is part of the city’s governing coalition.
City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague / TOP 09) said the stadium is in poor condition and needs to be repaired, which will cost 1.2 billion CZK. Since the city will have to invest in repairing the stadium anyway, it can plan for that with the intention of including the museum.
City Councilor Hana Kordová Marvanová (United Force for Prague / STAN) said similar institutions such as civic organization Post Bellum could be housed at Strahov as well.
The proposal will now be discussed by the relevant committees and then voted on by the City Assembly, which includes all elected parties.
The large Strahov Stadium is owned by the City of Prague. Chabr says that sports functions should be preserved in Strahov, in addition to the museum. Currently, the stadium is divided into several fields and used for football training.
The city plans to extend a tram line directly to the stadium within four years. Buses currently go there. One criticism of using the Stalin statue base was that it would be difficult for school groups to reach as there was no public transit or parking directly at the site. The statue base is also on need of extensive renovation.
The City Council in September 2019 committed to building the Museum of Memory of the XX Century (Muzeum paměti XX. Století), chronicling the Nazi era and communism in what is now the Czech Republic. The idea goes back at least a decade, and possible venues suggested include the base of the former Stalin statue at Letná as well as the site of the former hospital on Legerova Street where Jan Palach and Josef Toufar, both regarded as victims of communism, died. Recently, Kampus Hybernská has also been suggested.
The museum is intended in particular to keep the memory of the Nazi occupation and communist era alive for the younger generations, so similar events are not repeated. Aside from having exhibitions, the museum should organize events and seminars, and work in cooperation with similar institutions both in the Czech Republic and abroad.
Strahov Stadium is the largest in the world, with a capacity of 250,000 people. It is closely associated with the communist era since it was home to the Spartakiad mass gymnastics events held every five years from 1955 to 1985.
The stadium was actually opened in 1926, and was expanded with concrete stands in 1932. It saw more construction in 1948 and 1975. Originally it was used for mass meetings of the Sokol movement, which returned in 1994 for an event but has since used smaller venues.
In 1990 and 1995, the stadium was the location of concerts by the Rolling Stones, with over 100,000 spectators each. It also saw concerts by Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Pink Floyd, U2 and AC/DC. The last concert was Ozzfest in 2002. In 2019, tech firm Apple filmed a commercial there for iPhone XR.