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Monument to Trabant in Prague

Monument to Trabant in Prague
Monument to Trabant in Prague

There are many provocative sculptures by David Cerny in Prague (for example, Kafka’s Head, Pissing Men or Babies). It all started with the sculptural composition “Trabant” (another name is “Walking Trabant”, and the official one is “Where are you going?” (lat. “Quo vadis”). Cerny created it in 1989, in 1990 it was quietly installed in the middle of the night on the Old Town Square, and since 2001 it has stood in the courtyard of the Lobkowitz Palace, which now houses the German Embassy in the Czech Republic.Because of this, it can only be seen through the fence.

Walking Trabant monument
Walking Trabant monument

The sculpture is dedicated to the Germans of East Germany, who fled to the West through Czechoslovakia – they came here in their Trabant cars, and already here they asked for political asylum in Germany. They abandoned their cars, and the enterprising Czechs picked up nobody’s goods and used them for their intended purpose.

The question “Quo vadis?”, according to biblical legend, was asked by the Apostle Peter to Christ at a crossroads in life. The phrase has become a household word, offering to think about choosing a life path. Peter himself chose martyrdom, but most people still strive for a better life, just like the East Germans who came to the Czech Republic on Trabants.

Monument to Trabant
Monument to Trabant

Monument to Trabant, Some facts

Trabant, or simply Trabi (German “Trabant” – “Sputnik”) is a brand of small cars that have been mass-produced in East Germany since 1957. That year, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into orbit – hence the name. For its time, it had many progressive technical solutions that are now standard – a transverse engine, front axle drive. A distinctive feature was that its body was plastic. Although, in truth, only the outer panels were made of plastic, and the frame was still metal. Therefore, the Trabi body was virtually eternal.

Quo Vadis sculpture
Quo Vadis sculpture

Model 601, which Cherny depicted on the monument, first appeared in 1963 and was the most massive – more than 2 million of these Trabants were produced in total. It was very cheap – a little more expensive than a motorcycle with a sidecar. In 1977, the price of a Trabant in the GDR was 5,202 marks. For comparison: the price of the “eared” Zaporozhets ZAZ-968 was 7083 marks, and the “Volga” GAZ-24 cost as much as 13200.

Trabant on the Old Town Square
Trabant on the Old Town Square
Monument Czech Republic Trabant
Monument Czech Republic Trabant
Car Trabant model 601
Car Trabant model 601

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