Power and architecture – Czech Republic

Alongside many other European cities which came across the communist regime (Moscow, Bucharest, Warsaw), Prague experienced besides communism, the communist architecture which has been described either as grandiose (Stalinist architecture), either as massive and grey.

The 1950s architecture and generally the Socialist-Realist style consists mainly in consciously imitating Stalin’s tastes.

One of the very few examples of Socialist Realist architecture in Prague is the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the largest Stalinist building in Prague which was initially constructed as a luxurious meeting space for the army delegates of the Soviet Union.

Crowne Hotel Plaza(Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2011)

The architectural style of the building was inspired by a series of constructions in Russia, and it fulfilled Stalin’s fantasy by becoming a miniature copy of the Seven Sisters group of skyscrapers from Moscow.  The spire is one of Stalin’s individual marks as this element noticeably repeats in all the Moscow’s high-rises buildings along with features specific to the gothic cathedrals.

The hotel was built between 1952 and 1954 under the vigilant eye of the Stalinist Minister of Defense –  Alexej Cepicka and it was designed by František Jeřábek and his group of colleagues. The 254-room hotel is 88 meters high and it has 16 floors along with a fallout shelter which can get together 600+ people.  Its original Socialist Realist architecture and character is imposing, as well as the green star on the top of the hotel (the colour of Holiday Inn company, but also the colour of capitalism) which was once a red one (symbol of being a communist building).

Hotel Crowne Plaza PrahaHotel Crowne Plaza Praha (Prague Convention Bureau)

Crowne Plaza Hotel represents the still-living memory of the socialistic era and is consequently one of the cultural monuments of the Czech Republic.

Another symbol of the power and authority in Prague is Kotva department store, one of the most famous and controversial communist buildings of the Czech Republic.  Finished in 1975, the building instigates through its 6 units the supremacy and the uniqueness of the communist retro design.

Kotva department storeKotva department store

Marina Gogeanu

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