Photo of the week: Prague’s famous dead body

This hospital-like room, inside the Vitkov National Memorial in Prague, is part of communism’s hoary tradition of maintaining the cult of the leader. Klement Gottwald, leader of the Communist party of what was then Czechoslovakia, died in 1953 and his embalmed body was kept in this room and thousands of people came to see the body for the nine years that it was kept there.

The Memorial’s delightfully propagandist brochure tells you that he eventually had to be cremated due to “political reasons” when in fact, some accounts speak of a botched embalming leading to the body putrefying in full public view. The Vitkov National Memorial in Prague is a place that most locals avoid and most tourists can’t find. But for anyone interested in the mad, mad world of communism, Vitkov Hill is not to be missed… Other benefits include some amazing views over Prague.

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2 Responses to Photo of the week: Prague’s famous dead body

  1. Simon says:

    I visted the memorial yesterday. Although it indeed had some information the communist period of the Czech Republics past it is not really surprising considering this lasted for 50 years. The museam had a lot of interesting artifacts on the whole period of the republic, including the machine gun that was used to kill the famous Nazi Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942.

    The views were spectacular and the tiled room shown above now contains some intersting busts of communist leaders such as Lenin and Stalin.

    • alaphia says:

      Hi Simon,
      I don’t remember seeing the machine gun. What I do remember is that we were the only people in that museum and the staff were so eager to show us everything that they followed us around trying to explain something everytime we so much as made eye-contact.

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