World's biggest Stalin monument would have turned 50 on May Day
Czech TV launches trial broadcast for country's first ever 24-hour news channel
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It's a beautiful sunny day here in Prague and I'm standing on Prague's Letna Hill overlooking the Vltava River and the Old Town. Tourists come here today, not only for the breathtaking view but to see the large ticking metronome, which was erected here in 1991. But for the local residents this spot holds a darker memory - little do the tourists around me know that exactly fifty years ago, at this very site, some six hundred men and women were working around the clock to create the world's biggest monument ever to honour the Soviet Communist party chief Josef Stalin.
Too heavy to be displaced, it was blown to pieces with 800 kg of explosives and 1,650 detonators. Some witnesses claim the party chief was decapitated immediately after the first explosion, his head rolling into the river waters below.
Before the remnants of the monument were stored, they were loaded on a truck and paraded in front of cheering crowds that gathered to celebrate the event in the streets of Prague's Old Town. Was it just a coincidence or a bad omen that less than a year later, the driver of the truck died in an accident?