Prague: see the world’s ugliest building


The Czech Republic’s capital is packed with beautiful buildings, but it is the ugliest building in the world I am drawn to whenever I visit the city. The Žižkov TV Tower in the suburbs is well worth the trip from the centre for Prague’s best views, and it is now home to one of the smallest (and most expensive) hotels you will ever see.

The residential neighbourhood of Žižkov is a good half-hour walk to the east of Wenceslas Square, or you can take the underground to Jiřího z Poděbrad on the green line and get there in around five minutes.

You can’t miss the TV Tower which is the tallest building in Prague, and protrudes from the housing estates like a rocket ready for take-off.

Locals have never been big fans – it can’t be nice having a 216-metre tall monstrosity in your back garden, plus there used to be concerns about the safety of living so close to all those transmitters.

The intentions of the Communists who commissioned the tower’s construction back in the 1970s are a bit blurred. Was it built to block the evil propaganda broadcast by western TV and radio stations?

Whatever they may have been, today the tower is a tourist attraction with a bar and observation deck from which to sit back with a pint of Budvar and take in the best view in town. It’s also one of the few places in Prague that’s not over-run with tourists.

If any of my friends ever visit Prague, I always recommend a trip to the Žižkov TV Tower to them, but recently one pal came home disappointed as he said the tower was closed.

The last time I was in Prague was 2009 but, sceptical about this, I had a look on Google. In fact, the tower was closed for extensive renovations for much of 2011 and 2012, before being re-opened and re-branded as Tower Park Prague, with a new improved restaurant, observation deck and a luxury one room hotel in one of the pods, called imaginatively the One Room Hotel.

But with prices starting at 18,000 Kč per night (around £550/€650/$900), it’s one hotel I can’t see myself staying at anytime soon. There are swinging bubble chairs and telescopes in the new Observatory pod at the 93-metre level, which you can get to in a super-fast elevator for a more doable 150 Kč (around £4.50/€5.50/$7.50).

I suppose you’re wondering about those freaky giant babies crawling up the tower? “Babies” was a temporary sculpture put in place in 2000 by the Czech artist David Černý, but was so popular it returned in 2001 and is now there to stay. I’m not sure of their relevance, but the babies somehow suit this fantastically eccentric building.

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Categories: Czech Republic and SlovakiaTags: , , , ,

37 comments

  1. The babies are an interesting touch. If they’re going to be creepy, they may as well go all the way.

  2. I’ve been to Prague many times, but have never seen this. It may be ugly, but it sounds like fun.

  3. It’s no beauty is it! It features in a few of my Prague photos way in the distance but I didn’t get chance to go up, one to do if I ever make it back there.

  4. I don’t imagine that the communists imagined those sorts of prices!

  5. Pretty ugly!!! 😉 Anyway, just to add, Zizkov is the best place to hang out, have a beer in a real czech pub, eat in czech original restaurant. Prague citiziens have fun in Zizkov, that’s why tourists don’t see locals in city centre

  6. I like the babies 🙂 The post makes me smile because it contrasts so beautifully with Marianne at East of Malaga’s pretty take on Prague. (she’s there right now)

  7. I can’t believe how could I’ve missed it… But yeah, it’s pretty ugly.

  8. It is an ugly building but entertaining at the same time…I wouldn’t want it where I live though!

  9. I wish I’d known about Žižkov TV Tower when I was in Prague! But looking at your photos, I must have seen it as it dominates the skyline… but didn’t register it as I’m sure most don’t.

    I too am drawn to buildings which are deemed unattractive but have their own character – and with the help of David Černý this building definitely has character! Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  10. Yep, that sure is ugly! Hoping to visit Prague before to long and will make a visit here, time permitting, for the view. Thanks for the tip off!

  11. Wow, that is a really ugly building. And those babies crawling up the side are just weird.

  12. I went there because of your guide on simonseeks! You inspired me to visit it because it was so unusual and not the usual beautiful Prague. The hotel is an interesting addition, but who could afford to stay there? Does it include breakfast in the restaurant?

    • I read somewhere the hotel includes use of a chauffeur! You’d expect brekkie to be included at that price!

      • I just checked the website and it looks quite a nice room. Glass wall bathroom looks great and the views are stunning. I see they can also convert the room into a conference room for 16 people.

        A chauffeur is a nice touch- I wonder how far you could get driven? The price does include “Breakfast à la carte” which sounds promising.

        There is also a welcome drink, unlimited access to the Observatory, a bottle of champagne on arrival and shoe polishing (perhaps worth taking all of your shoes to get value for money!!!)

        It also says there is “Freshly cut fruit on arrival”. Does that mean somebody chops up an apple for you?

  13. Wow, yes, that is pretty hideous, lol.

  14. Blimey. Truly awful. What were they thinking!

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