“Flame” statue unveiled near National Museum in honour of Jan Palach

A bronze statue, called “Flame” (Plamen), was unveiled next to the New Building of the National Museum on Tuesday by Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, National Museum Director Michal Lukeš and sculptor Antonín Kašpar, who is the author of the object.

The statue is situated on the 30 metre high pylon in front of the New Building, which used to be the House of Czechoslovakia’s Parliament. The original designer of the pylon, Karel Prager, intended to have the granite flame placed onto the structure in honour of Jan Palach, the student who set himself on fire in 1969 on Wenceslas Square in protest of the apathy of the Czechoslovak population following the crackdown on the Prague Spring. However, it was kept secret that the flame was in honour of Palach and the regime forbade placing the statue onto the pylon in the 1970s. The original intention of the architect was forgotten until his designs were rediscovered only recently.