New fountain in Prague unveiled

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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 a new fountain's unveiling by Prague 5 Deputy Mayor, Petr Horak.

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 a new fountain's unveiling by Prague 5 Deputy Mayor, Petr Horak.

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.

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 ten told me that another strong motive were massive stones he used:

"We used a stone from the Liberec quarry in North Bohemia, two huge monoliths which have ruptures in their middles, and we imagined these were the ruptures of fate. The water in the fountain flows into them taking all the history of the place with it, and then clear springs of water gush out, which we consider a light of the future, a kind of purity. The water in the fountain flushes all bad things down and then gushes up cleansed again."

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.