METRONOME

Prague Travel Blog

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The Metronome sways back-and-forth.
Metronome, Vratislav Novak, 1991

On Prague’s Letna Hill, overlooking the Vltava River and the Old Town Novak’s large ticking 75 foot-tall Metronome establishes the city’s beat with a mechanical pulse. The city and nature seem to keep tempo with the swinging pendulum. From the metronome is a beautiful view but for the local residents this exact spot holds a darker memory.

The Metronome stands on the plinth left vacant by the destruction of an enormous monument to former Soviet leader Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili, a.k.a. Stalin.

In the 1940s, the government of Czechoslovakia had decided to erect a giant statue in honor of Communist Socialism. The foundation stone was laid in 1949 and in 1955, the sculpture was unveiled.

The sculpture, biggest in Europe, depicted five people: Facing the city was Stalin, behind him was a worker wielding a flag, then a woman with sickle, a farmer with hammer, and at the back was a soldier, turned back from the others, symbolizing the alertness of the People.
The now site of the Metronome, Stalin and his comrades.
The statue was 12 meters (30 feet) wide, 22 meters (72 feet) long and 15 meters (50 feet) tall, with another 15 m of the pedestal; Stalin was enormous, right in the middle of the city, visible from almost everywhere.

In 1953, while the sculpture was still being erected, Stalin has died. In 1956, just one year after the sculpture was finished, Nikita Khrushchev, then the leader of Soviet Communist Party, publicly denounced Stalin’s cult of personality during the 20th Party Congress Address. Stalin thus fell out of favor, yet the sculpture was kept until 1962, when blasted to pieces.

Now the highly visible large red pendulum of the Metronome sways back and forth through the Prague sky representing change as a constant.

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The Metronome sways back-and-forth.
The Metronome sways back-and-forth.
The now site of the Metronome, Sta…
The now site of the Metronome, St…
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photo by: vulindlela