Žižkov Television Tower (Žižkovská televizní věž)

Description

The Žižkov Television Tower (Czech: Žižkovský vysílač) is a unique transmitter tower built in Prague between 1985 and 1992. Designed by the architect Václav Aulický and the structural engineer Jiří Kozák, it stands high above the city's traditional skyline from its position on top of a hill in the district of Žižkov, from which it takes its name. The tower is an example of high-tech architecture.

Characteristics

The structure of the tower is unconventional, based on a triangle whose corners are growing up in steel columns, consisting of three tubes with a double steel wall, filled with concrete. They support nine 'pods' and three decks for transmitting equipment. One of the three pillars extends considerably higher than the others, and this provides both the necessary height for some antennas, along with the structure's rocket and gantry appearance. In its time it was a unique technology, which authors have patented.

The tower stands 216 metres (709 feet) high, altitude of the observatory is 93 m, the hotel room altitude is 70 m, restaurants altitude is 66 m, with a capacity of 180 people. Three elevators transport passengers at a speed of 4 m/s.

Three of the pods, positioned directly beneath the decks at the top of the tower, are used for equipment related to the tower's primary function and are inaccessible to the public. The remaining six pods are open to visitors, providing a panoramic view of Prague and the surrounding area. The lower three, approximately half-way up the length of the pillars at 63 metres (207 feet), house a recently refurbished restaurant and café bar.

Construction of the tower cost $19 million, it weighs 11,800 tons and is also used as a meteorological observatory. It is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

Reputation

Like many examples of communist-era architecture in Central and Eastern Europe, the TV tower used to be generally resented by the local inhabitants. It also received a spate of nicknames, mostly alluding to its rocket-like shape, e.g. "Baikonur" after Soviet cosmodrome or some more political, like "Jakeš's finger" ("Jakešův prst"), after the Secretary General of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. In 2009, Australian website Virtualtourist.com called Žižkov TV Tower the second ugliest building in the world, behind the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore.

Although official criticism during the time of its construction was impossible, unofficially the tower was lambasted for its 'megalomania', its 'jarring' effect on the Prague skyline, and for destroying part of a centuries-old Jewish cemetery situated at the tower's foundations. To build it, they simply dug up the cemetery, with stones and bones being tossed about. However, the official line remains that the cemetery was moved some time before the tower was conceived. Recently, the tower's reputation among Czechs has improved. Today the tower attracts visitors focusing on the tower's technological innovations and great view over city skyline.

Last changes

David Černý sculptures

In 2000, ten fiberglass sculptures by Czech artist David Černý called "Miminka" (Babies), crawling up and down were temporarily attached to the tower's pillars. The sculptures were admired by many and were returned in 2001 as a permanent installation. Another three babies, made from bronze, you can find in Prague’s Kampa Park.

Restaurant

The restaurant 'Oblaca' features a range of international and regional cuisine. Bar prepares various high-quality mixed drinks.

Illumination

Since 2006, to mark the 125th anniversary of elevation of Žižkov into city and the 15th anniversary of the commissioning of the transmitter, the transmitter is illuminated in different colors every day, usually in the colors of the state tricolor.

České Radiokomunikace TOWER Datacenter

After switching to digital TV broadcasting and removing the old analogue broadcast equipment, the owner decided to use the free space for a new colocation datacenter with capacity for 64 racks.

Luxury Room

On 13 February 2013 a luxury one room hotel was added to the tower. The room sits upstairs from the reopened restaurant and a spiral staircase provides private access. Inside the room is a large bed and a free standing bathtub from where the guest can view the city.

See also

  • List of towers

Contact information

  • Address: Mahlerovy sady 1, Prague, 130 00, Czech Republic
  • GPS: 50° 4.864 N 14° 27.065 E

Map

The nearest hotels

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