The Zizkov Television Tower is a unique transmitter tower, built in Prague between 1985 and 1992. Designed by architect Vaclav Aulicky and engineer Jiri Kozak, it stands above the city's traditional skyline. The tower is an example of high-tech architecture.
The structure consists of three concrete pillars with a metallic finish which support nine 'pods' and three decks for transmitting equipment.Three of the pods, positioned directly beneath the decks at the top of the tower, are used for the tower's primary function and are inaccessible to the public. The remaining six pods are open to visitors. The highest observation room is at 100 metres, providing a panoramic view over Prague. The lower pods houses a refurbished restaurant, cafe and bar. The tower weighs 11,800 tons and is also used as meteorological observatory. The structure of the tower is unconventional, based on a triangle whose corners go up in steel columns, consisting of three tubes with a double steel wall, filled with concrete. They support nine 'pods' and three decks for transmitting equipment. One of the three pillars extends considerably higher than the others, and this provides both the necessary height for some antennas, along with the structure's rocket and gantry appearance. In its time it was a unique technology, which authors have patented.
The tower stands 216 m high, altitude of the observatory is 93 m, the hotel room altitude is 70 m, restaurants altitude is 66 m, with a capacity of 180 people. Three of the pods, positioned directly beneath the decks at the top of the tower, are used for equipment related to the tower's primary function and are inaccessible to the public. The remaining six pods are open to visitors, providing a panoramic view of Prague and the surrounding area. The lower three, approximately half-way up the length of the pillars at 63 m, house a recently refurbished restaurant and cafe bar. Construction of the tower cost $19 million. It weighs 11,800 tons and is also used as a meteorological observatory. It is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.
Like many examples of communist-era architecture in Central and Eastern Europe, the TV tower used to be generally resented by the local inhabitants. It also received a spate of nicknames, mostly alluding to its rocket-like shape, like "Baikonur", after the Soviet cosmodrome or some more political, like "Jakes's finger" after the Secretary General of the Czechoslovak Communist Party. On the other hand, the crawling Babies (together with the statue Piss by the same author) were published by The Guardian in 2007 as the greatest attraction of Prague. Recently, the tower's reputation among Czechs has improved. Today the tower attracts visitors with its technological innovations and view over the city skyline.
In 2000, sculptures by Czech artist David Cerny of crawling babies were temporarily attached to the tower's pillars. The sculptures were admired by many and were returned in 2001 as a permanent installation.