Museum of Communism, Prague
A small private museum in Prague
about the history and nature of communism
in the CSSR
and its downfall. Both enlightening and even amusing!
>More background info
>What there is to see
>Access and costs
>Combinations with other dark destinations
>Combinations with non-dark destinations
What there is to see:
Topically the museum covers the communist
era, especially from the point of view of the CSSR
, of course, and also the "Prague Spring
" and its violent end in 1968 – after all, one of the most tragic events in the Eastern Bloc
during the decades of the Cold War
There's a series of thematic rooms, each dedicated to different aspects such as "the workplace", "education", "(lack of) food supplies", "surveillance", etc., as well as the successive phases that communism
went through in Czechoslovakia, from Stalinism
via the "Prague Spring" of 1968 to the demise of communism in the "Velvet Revolution
" of 1989.
All this is illustrated through artefacts, some more relevant (e.g. spy cameras) than others (e.g. bicycles), and through images and propaganda posters from those times. Explanations are provided on multilingual text panels in Czech, English and German – and more recently on smaller additional panels in other European languages, demonstrating the increased popularity of the museum with tourists.
The museum's approach is hardly "sentimental", not at all glamorizing, more generally "condemning" communism
. Old communists who would much rather have liked to see the "good old days" presented in a more heroic light might be disappointed here. However, the museum doesn't exactly cater for Western "victorious" sentiments either, which can sometimes be observed especially amongst some Reaganite Americans. On the contrary: you can find a few strikingly sarcastic sideswipes against such Western feelings of superiority.
That's also true for the adjoining souvenir shop. On offer is a rather eclectic mix of T-shirts, postcards, books, reproductions of real as well as fictitious propaganda posters, Stalin busts made of wax, and old medals and lapel pins. Some may take issue with the degree of commercialization, or with the occasionally somewhat light-hearted, nonchalant tone of the exhibition. But in my view the museum gets the difficult balance more or less right.
at No. 10 Na Prikope Street right in the centre of Prague
Access and costs: slightly hidden, but not difficult to find; mid-price.
Details: The Museum of Communism is currently housed on the first floor of the building of the Palais Savarin, next to the casino, at No.10 Na Prikope Street, just round the corner from the central Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske namesti). Ironically, the local McDonald's serves as a navigational point of orientation in finding the museum (is that thematically fitting or rather not at all?). Two metro stations are within easy walking distance, Nam Republiky at the eastern end of Na Prikope Street and, closer still, Mustek at the top end of Wenceslas Square just round the corner.
Admission: The museum currently charges 190 CZK (students 150), which isn't exactly a bargain, given the relatively small size of the museum. But that's more or less the price level you have to expect anywhere from such a privately run enterprise.
Opening times: daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (i.e. very generously long hours!)
Time required: The Museum of Communism can quite comfortably be "done" in about an hour – a bit more if you also want to watch in its entirety the film that is shown in the small "cinema room".
Combinations with other dark destinations:
Combinations with non-dark destinations:
in general see Prague
– the central Wenceslas "Square" (rather a wide boulevard), the main focal point of the "New Town" part of central Prague is literally just round the corner. Only a few steps further to the north and west begins the fabled Old Town.