Žižkov Television Tower

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,[1] 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.

Žižkov Television Tower
Žižkov TV Tower from the city center
General information
Architectural styleStructural expressionism
LocationPrague, Czech Republic
Construction started1985
Antenna spire216 metres
Design and construction
ArchitectVáclav Aulický
Structural engineerJiří Kozák


The tower close up
TV Tower in Žižkov

The technical solution itself was unique in its time and brought several innovations and even patents. About twenty different proposals have been made. Finally won in 1984 the variant of futuristic, subtle but stable, three column structure.

The structure of the tower is unconventional, based on a triangle whose corners go 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.[2]

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.[3]


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, like "Baikonur", after the 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.[4] On the other hand, the crawling Babies (together with the statue Piss by the same author) were published by The Guardian in 2007 as the greatest attraction of Prague.[5] Recently, the tower's reputation among Czechs has improved.[6] Today the tower attracts visitors with its technological innovations and view over the city skyline.

Although official criticism during the time of its construction was impossible, the tower was lambasted unofficially for its 'megalomania', its 'jarring' effect on the Prague skyline and for destroying part of a centuries-old Old Jewish cemetery in Žižkov situated at the tower's foundations. Burials in the cemetery ended in 1890. In 1960 the place was converted to Mahler's park. One quarter of the cemetery was preserved, but three-quarters of the cemetery tombstones were tumbled and covered with a thick layer of soil. However, the tower's foundation was simply dug up through the layer of the cemetery, tombstones were crushed by heavy equipment and the bones were carried away to landfill.[7]

Last changesEdit

Detail of "Babies" on the tower
The tower at night

David Černý sculpturesEdit

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, can be found in Prague's Kampa Park.

For cleaning and structural checks, these Babies were removed from the tower in the fall of 2017.[8] After examination of the condition of the sculptures was made a decision to replace them with identical duplicates. In March 2019 the duplicates of the "Babies" were installed on their original positions. The original Babies were returned to David Černý.[9]


Since 2006, to mark the 125th anniversary of the elevation of Žižkov into a city and the 15th anniversary of the commissioning of the transmitter, the transmitter is illuminated in different colors every evening, usually in the colors of the state tricolor.[10]

České Radiokomunikace TOWER DatacenterEdit

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.[11]

Luxury RoomEdit

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.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Žižkovská televizní věž". Praguerocket.com. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Žižkov Tower". Tower park.
  3. ^ "The World Federation of Great Towers".
  4. ^ "Žižkovská věž je druhou nejošklivější stavbou světa". ČT24. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  5. ^ "To je Top 10 lákadel Prahy podle Guardianu | Aktuálně.cz". Aktuálně.cz – Víte, co se právě děje (in Czech). 25 October 2007.
  6. ^ 24. listopadu 2005. "Žižkovský vysílač po 20 letech už nepobuřuje – iDNES.cz". Mladá fronta DNES. Czech Republic. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Kvůli žižkovské televizní věži byl zničen židovský hřbitov" (in Czech). Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Czech TV tower loses its babies". BBC.
  9. ^ Zdroj: https://www.idnes.cz/praha/zpravy/zizkovsky-vysilac-miminka-se-vraci-po-ociste-david-cerny.A190322_083008_praha-zpravy_rsr title=Horolezci instalují na žižkovskou věž miminka, vrací je tam po dvou letech
  10. ^ České radiokomunikace věnují Pražanům stálé slavnostní osvětlení žižkovské věže
  11. ^ "Služby datového centra – České Radiokomunikace". radiokomunikace.cz. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  12. ^ "Ugly Prague tower adds beautiful view with hotel room". Yahoo. 27 March 2013.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 50°04′51″N 14°27′05″E / 50.08083°N 14.45139°E / 50.08083; 14.45139