Movie prop of Stalin visible above the base of the Stalin statue. via Raymond Johnston

Stalin has been condemned, and Prague’s Metronome area will be closed to the public

Prague must immediately close part of the pedestal of the former Stalin Memorial

Prague must immediately close part of the pedestal of the former Stalin Memorial at Letná, based on the results of a report commissioned by the Municipal Property Department. The entire area above the pedestal must close within five days unless the roof below is reinforced.

“The construction is in a state of disrepair where there is a risk of an uncontrollable sudden collapse of its overloaded and corrosion-weakened parts,” the Prague 7 Building Authority stated, adding that was calling on the city “to immediately and prevent people and animals from entering the building.”



stalin letna
Stalin bar in the base of the former statue. via Raymond Johnston

The section below the metronome, where there are now stalls and cultural events, will be closed immediately, The space above the bunker, the place where the Metronome is located, must be secured within five days from Wednesday, September 18, or it will also be closed.

The area by the Metronome has long been popular with skateboarders and people wanting to sit on the wall and look at the view of the city.

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The base has been used for art exhibitions and light shows, and has been home to a bar called Stalin.

By the end of the year, Prague must submit a report from structural engineers and carry out laboratory tests.

The expert opinion, on the basis of which the Prague 7 Building Authority decided, was commissioned by the Prague City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague). There was already a written report about the emergency state of the building.

metronome
Metronome during Prague Pride. via Raymond Johnston

Provisionally, it will be necessary to temporarily support the roof, but until that happens people will not be able to enter the space.

The bad condition is caused by long-term leaks. The report also states that the estimate of the cost of provisional support for the ceiling of the underground construction is 7 million CZK.

“Now it is necessary to provide emergency repairs, temporary support, and make a final assessment that will include a load test of concrete quality,” Chabr said, accodring to news server Novinky.cz.

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He wants to decide on further steps only on the basis of an opinion. “If it is possible economically and advantageously to redevelop the building to allow future use, I am in favor,” Chabr said

The fate of the site of the former Stalin Memorial has been debated for several years. The past management of Prague considered a museum or even an aquarium, but the current Prague 7 Mayor Jan Čižinský (Praha 7 sobě) opposes that as it adds a traffic burden to the park.

The cultural program at the statue base and the related bar called Stalin is operated by Containall, which also operates similar projects in other parts of the city.

The area is popularly called Stalin, after a statue of the Soviet leader that stood on top from 1955 to 1962. After 1962, when the Stalin statue was destroyed, the communist government planned to build another large monument there, but never did so.

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Stalin Monument
Stalin Monument. cia Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.5

Stalin did make a comeback, however, in May 2016 when a scaled-down Styrofoam replica of the monument was placed there for a TV movie called Monstrum.

The Metronome was built in 1991 by Vratislav Novák. At 23 meters tall, it is visible from Old Town Square and much of the city center.

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