Sign up for blog updates

Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...

CATEGORIES

POPULAR POSTS

THE BOOK

 

Buy the book at amazon.com

Know a good place for us to check out? Tell us!

 

 

Expats Blog

Sights

Vítkov National Monument

Published on May 08th, 2014 in Sights

  • Vítkov Monument, 1950 (photo courtesy of ČTK/Czech News Agency)

  • Monumnent being used as a warehouse, c. 1942 (courtesy of www.vzpominej.nm.cz)

  • Construction of the Monument, c. 1928-1933 (courtesy of www.vzpominej.nm.cz)

  • Joseph Stalin, Klement Gottwald and friends, c. 1946

 

Capped with the world’s largest equestrian statue, the Vítkov National Monument is already plenty noteworthy, but there’s much more to it than that. Far behind the massive metal doors is a huge mausoleum that was built between the World Wars as a memorial to members of the Czechoslovak Legion, who fought against the Austro-Hungarian forces in World War I. Don’t worry, there are no longer dead bodies stored here – these were removed in 1990 (which, come to think of it, might be at least as creepy). In any case, the interior space is of true architectural merit, incorporating 29 different types of marble and granite, all from local quarries. There are also fabulous Art Deco furnishings in the Presidential Suite. During World War II, the Germans used the monument for weapons storage; later, the Communists used it once again as a mausoleum, adding to the structure. The highlight during their occupation must have been the Lenin-style state viewing of the embalmed body of Klement Gottwald, the first and most famous communist leader in Czechoslovakia. After the fall of communism in 1989, the government sold the building for 1 CZK – yes, you read right, 1 CZK – to a clearly very well connected former comrade. Thankfully, he went bankrupt, and the government was later able to reclaim the building.

 

In addition to the permanent exhibition, which covers milestones in the history of the Czechoslovak statehood, be certain not to miss the underground “Basement of Gottwald’s Mausoleum,” which contains the technical equipment used for the embalming and upkeep of Klement Gottwald's corpse – it’s creeptastic! Additionally, try to visit on a day where the weather is good, so you can visit the 360-degree rooftop viewpoint, which is among the best in the city, offering a wholly unique vantage that clearly outlines the neighborhoods of Prague. The café also offers a great view, but it’s not nearly as spectacular as the one from the roof. Although difficult to get to, this unique monument is definitely worth the effort. Sadly, there’s virtually nothing to buy with which to commemorate your visit, but you certainly won’t forget it.

 

note: The monument is open year round, but be forewarned: there is limited heating in winter, and it can get rather chilly inside.

 

 

Vítkov National Monument

U Památníku 1900, Prague 3, Žižkov
www.nm.cz
tel 222 781 676
hours from April–October: Wed–Sun: 10:00–18:00; from November–March: Thu–Sun: 10:00–18:00
entrance fee 110 CZK Adults; 60 CZK Children & Seniors
tram 1, 9, 16 to Ohrada

 

Or take a taxi! Advise the driver to go to Koněvova Street and then turn on Pražačka; this will take you right to the monument.

 

close