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Colossus

„As we look up Revoluční to the south, we soon see the arched windows and crenellations of what is today the Palladium shopping center (then Josefská Kasárna, barracks for the Czechoslovak Army). Further around, other familiar buildings pass by, as Prague’s many famous turrets and spires can be seen through the haze. The twin gothic spires of the 13th-century Church of Our Lady before Týn float past, and far in the distance on a light gray hilltop is the Petřínská rozhledna of 1891 (a lookout tower inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris), which marks the hill of Petřín. After the second rooftop television antenna, we see what is probably Prague’s most identifiable landmark, the Prague Castle, Hradčany. Then, we come to a mystery.

„What in the devil’s name is that?“

The final scene in the Czechoslovak film Holubice (The White Dove, František Vláčil, 1960) may contain a little surprise for audiences nowadays, if they know Prague, and if they look closely. The scene consists of a single shot, from a camera placed at a high vantage point somewhere on ul. Revoluční, during which the camera pans nearly the entire daytime skyline of Prague at the time of the film’s production, ca. 1959-60.