|Velký strahovský stadion|
Prague, Czech Republic
|Capacity||250,000 56,000 seated|
|Field dimensions||9 football pitches
(total 310.5 x 202.5 m)
|AC Sparta Prague (training only)|
The Great Strahov Stadium (Czech: Velký strahovský stadion) is a stadium in the Strahov district of Prague, Czech Republic. With a capacity of around 250,000, it is the largest stadium in the world, and the second largest sports facility worldwide after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Today, it is no longer in use for sports events; it is a training centre for Sparta Prague, and is used to host pop concerts. The stadium is sited on Petřín hill overlooking the old city. It can be accessed by taking the Petřín funicular up the hill through the gardens.
Construction began based on plans by the architect Alois Dryák, on a wooden stadium in 1926, which was replaced by concrete grandstands in 1932. Further construction occurred in 1948 and 1975. The playing field, surrounded by seating on all sides, is 63,500 square metres. The stadium currently serves Sparta Prague as a training centre with 8 football pitches (6 pitches of standard sizes and 2 futsal pitches).
The original stadium dates from the First Republic between the World Wars and served as a venue for Sokol displays of synchronized gymnastics on a massive scale. It was later used for large displays during the communist era. Performances with several hundred gymnasts making various complex formations and exercising identically while accompanied by tunes from traditional folk music attracted the attention of many visitors. Each time, among the widely popular shows were those of young well-trained recruits who wore only boxer shorts while on the display or women dancing in miniskirts. The groups of gymnasts (unlike the soldiers, who were ordered to practise and participate) were put together from keen local athletic association members who regularly trained for the show throughout the year prior to the event, which repeated every five years. The name of the performance, Spartakiáda, referred to the power and strength of the slave uprising led by Spartacus.
Motor racing also took place in the stadium in the mid-1960s.
Since 1990, the stadium has been used for concerts.
- The Rolling Stones - Aug 18, 1990 & Aug 5, 1995 (attendance 100,000 & 127,000 respectively)
- Guns N' Roses - May 20, 1992 (attendance 60,000 spectators, among them the NHL icehockey superstar Jaromir Jagr)
- Bon Jovi - Sept 4, 1993
- Aerosmith - May 27, 1994 (attendance 30,000 spectators, again with the NHL icehockey superstar Jaromir Jagr in the audience) -
- Pink Floyd - Sept 7, 1994 - (attendance was officially 110,000, but eventually another estimated 10,000 people sneaked in or pushed into the venue)
- Bratři Nedvědové - June 21, 1996 (attendance 60,000)
- U2 - Aug 14, 1997 - (attendance approx. 62 000 spectators, )
- AC/DC, with Rammstein - June 12, 2001 - (attendance 25,000 people)
- Ozzfest - May 30, 2002 - (attendance 30,000) Line-up: Škwor, AntiProduct, AstroMetro, Royal Playboy Cartel, Slayer & Ozzy Osbourne
- George Michael - June 2, 2007
Bon Jovi were scheduled to conclude the 1st European leg of their These Days Tour at the stadium on July 9, 1995, but the show was cancelled.
The future of the stadium
In the last decade several studies have looked at adaptive reuse and preservation of this unique structure. There are plans to convert the mammoth Strahov stadium complex into a commercial zone complete with hotels, restaurants and shops. Another suggestion is to convert the area into a "leisure mecca for the 21st century". There are also plans to rebuild the area as an Olympic village if Prague wins a future Olympic bid; bidding for 2016 was unsuccessful.
- Satter, Andrew (11 December 2003). "Rethinking 'Fortress Strahov'". The Prague Post.
- Švec, Petr (7 September 2007). "Pražská nej: nejstarší panelák i největší stadion" (in Czech). MAFRA.