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Strahov Stadium. Architectural remnants of Prague's communist past

Jacky Chapman | Czech Republic

“Prague does not have its name for no reason – in truth,
Prague is a threshold between the life on Earth
and Heaven, a threshold much thinner and narrower then in any other places…”
Gustav Meyrink (author ‘The Golem’)

On Petřín hill, overlooking this old city of bridges and cobbled streets, sits the imposing, decaying, colossal Strahov Stadium. The scale of this monstrous architectural structure is staggering. It’s quite remarkable to find such an enormous abandoned site in modern day Europe. Menacing grey skies juxtaposed next to crumbling dark grey facades, you could just feel the isolation, it breathed an ethereal, wrath-like quality.

To some, this complex may look like an eyesore — a crumbling concrete relic sitting like an albatross frozen in time, full of modern day graffiti, political slogans and flaking paint. Yet to others, including me, it evokes a concoction of mixed emotions … exciting, exhilarating, yet slightly terrifying because of its symbolism. I was wandering around part of an historical era I never witnessed — Prague’s painful past — one of the city’s remaining symbols, a final trace of the dark days of 41 years of totalitarian communist rule.

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