New fountain in Prague unveiled

New fountain in Prague

A new fountain was unveiled on the Kinsky Square in the Prague 5 district on Thursday evening. Crowds of people from the Smichov district came to see the unveiling ceremony, curious about the new look of their neighbourhood. Alena Skodova was there, too, and has this report:

The fountain is located in the same place where a Russian tank stood in the Communist era, said to be the first one to have arrived in Prague when it was liberated by the Red Army back in 1945. In the early 1990s, the Russian tank was painted pink by a group of avant guard artists several times, before it was removed completely, and the spot turned into a small park.

Two years ago, the Prague 5 Town Hall announced a tender on what to build on the Kinsky square, to enhance the importance of the site as a kind of 'entrance gate' to the Prague 5 district. On Thursday evening, dozens of local people watched the fountain's unveiling by Prague 5 Deputy Mayor, Petr Horak.

I spoke with architect Jan Lauda, who designed the fountain. He gave it the name "Trapdoor of Time".

"We wanted to depict the fact, that several historical episodes preceded the 'Trapdoor of Time' fountain - first it was a "Bear Fountain" built at the end of the 19th century, which had to be removed because of the introduction of trolley-bus transport, then it was the Russian tank which stood here for more than 40 years. My idea was to picture the development of the place in just one single architectural object, and huge streams of gushing water seemed to me as most effective."

Mr. Lauda then explained the work's technical parametres: water gushes to the height of 8 or 9 metres, it has a so-called 'wind-guard' which regulates the stream so that it does not spray on passers-by, and there are 24 nozzles placed in four circles. The fountain's performance is computer-controlled, and it will be lighted-up at night. The Prague 5 councillors plan to make it a sort of meeting place and organize various events here, for instance on state holidays.

Deputy Mayor Petr Horak told me that this is just the beginning of the town hall's plan to turn Prague 5 into a lively place, which would serve people more than it does now. The plans include new routes for city transport in order to create pedestrian zones and introduce more greenery, so that Prague 5 becomes an attractive site in the Czech capital.