The giant babies sculptures that nonchalantly scale Prague's TV Tower...
Six of the 10 fibreglass babies nonchalantly crawling up and down the tower. Photo Tower Park Praha
Prague's Žižkov Television Tower was completed in 1992, and since 2000 its distinctive outline was softened by the addition of what look like 10 giant babies crawling up and down the tower. The brief was to help the people of Prague love their tower a little more - and in that the sculptures were only meant to be temporary, and yet they are still there, it seems to have worked.
As a passing tourist, I was drawn to the tower as a diversion from the swathes of gorgeously attractive buildings in the Old Town of Prague. What caught my eye were the babies crawling up the outside of the structure.
Prague's TV tower dominates the skyline. Photo Tower Park Praha
The tower has attracted much criticism over the years, not least because it dominates one of Europe's most beautiful and low rise skylines, but also due to the very nature of its rather brutal design. It's an example of Structural Expressionism (also known as High-Tech Architecture), which evolved in the 1970s in reaction to the thinking that modern architecture of that period had become an endless parade of monotonous structures.
The rather brutal design has been softened by the infant climbers. Photos Tower Park Praha
No self respecting East European capital missed the opportunity under Communism of building a very tall, very modern, and usually very much despised TV tower, and Prague's offering is a three column steel structure that is 216 metres tall, and with an observation deck at 93m.
The 10 baby statues are made from fibreglass by renowned Czech sculptor, David Černý, who has form at creating controversy and making onlookers double take; having in 1991 provocatively painted a Soviet tank bright pink, and courted more controversy by exhibiting a statue of Saddam Hussein in a tank of formaldehyde in 2005.
Close up the babies are cute enough below the neck, but their heads are actually far from pretty, or even human, but have a strange mutant crease where facial features would normally be. Yet Černý's remit was to help transform the way that people feel about the tower, and in that he seems to have successed. It began as a temporary project, but because the sculptures proves so popularly appealing, they are now very much permanent fixtures.
I'm a sucker for getting an aerial view of any city that I am visiting, just for some context and plain old interesting views, but the observation deck and restaurant at the Žižkov Tower are well worth a visit, and for a closer look at Černý's daredevil infants.
Three bronze babies to the same design, also by David Černý, in Kampa Park. Photo Anguskirk/Flickr
See Tower Park Praha