Location: Fibichova, edge of the park by Old Jewish Cemetery
The Mahlerovy sady (Mahler Gardens) Park is a place where the past, conserved in the inconspicuous part of the Old Jewish Cemetery, touches the modern technical dominant in the form Žižkov TV Tower.
The Old Jewish Cemetery in Žižkov was founded in 1680 as the burial place for plague victims from the Jewish Community in Prague. Burials were made here during the subsequent Black Death epidemic in the second decade of the 18th century, and then regularly in 1787 to 1890. In the early 1960’s, the cemetery was discontinued and converted into a park, nowadays called Mahlerovy sady (Mahler Gardens). In the second half of the 1980’s, a major part of the cemetery was dug out and destroyed in relation to the construction of the TV Tower. The cemetery is an important memorial of art history, even though it has not been conserved in its original form. Approximately 40,000 people were buried here originally. The most significant one was the Chief Rabbi of Prague, Ezechiel Landau, also known for the Noda bi-Jehuda (1713-1793) and other significant Jewish personalities like e.g. Laundau’s disciple, member of the rabbinical council, Eleazar Fleckeles (1754-1826), doctor Jonas Jeiteles (1735-1806), historian David Podiebrad (1803-1882) and others. Magnificent tombstones commemorate the first Jewish entrepreneurs, Joachim Popper (1721-1795), members of the Jerusalem, Pribram and Dormitzer families. The tombstones represent the art of the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1999, the preserved part of the cemetery was transferred under the management of the Jewish Museum in Prague. Following the necessary construction and basic restoration work, the cemetery opened to the public in September 2001. It is currently managed by the Jewish Community in Prague.
In the 1970’s, the need for a high-performance radio and TV signal transmitter for Prague kept increasing. Lengthy discussions resulted in the choice of the Žižkov location and, therefore, the construction of the TV Tower started in the late 1980’s in the area previously dedicated to the Jewish cemetery. The calculations showed that to cover Prague with the signal from Žižkov perfectly, the antenna had to be at least 200 m above the ground. That is why the Žižkov TV Tower became one of the Prague dominants and the tallest building in town as well (216 m). It was built in 1985 to 1992 by Inženýrské a průmyslové stavby Ostrava to the design by architect Václav Aulický, static engineer Jiří Kozák and Alex Bém. The technical solution introduced several novelties and even patents. The foundation slab of reinforced concrete, of a 30 m diameter and 4 m thickness, sits 15 m below the original ground level. The vertical structure consists of three cylindrical steel tubes where the two auxiliary ones (one accommodating the emergency stairs, the other service elevator) have a 4.8 m diameter and reach up to 134 m. The main tube (with two express lifts) has a 6.4 m diameter and transforms into the antenna extension running all the way up to 216 metres. Three cabins with a three-way layout are suspended from the tubes. There is the panoramic restaurant “Oblaca” at the 66 m level, a viewing cabin at 93 metres which offers visibility of up to 100 km, and the highest is the TV technology cabin, not accessible to the public. During the reconstruction in 2011–2012, a luxury hotel suite was added straight on top of the restaurant. The antenna annex transmits TV and radio signals in digital multiplexes. There are mobile operators’ transmitters, as well as an air quality measurement station for Prague. In May 2000, ten crawling Babies by David Černý were put on the Tower. The Tower and the surrounding land are owned by Česé Radiokomunikace which leases it for commercial purposes. The TV Tower inspires all sorts of attitudes, according to the survey organised by the VirtualTourist.com of Australia, the Žižkov TV Tower is the world’s second ugliest structure.