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17 sensational observation towers that aren't in Paris

By: Matt Hickman on Aug. 5, 2016, 10:39 a.m.
Zizkov Television Tower in Prague

Photo: Graham C99/flickr

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Zizkov Television Tower

Charles Bridge. Saint Vitus Cathedral. Wenceslas Square. The Astronomical Clock. The communist-era TV tower with an army of babies crawling up and down its three legs.

Without a doubt one of the more offbeat — and difficult to miss — attractions in the eye-popping fairytale land of Prague (save for perhaps bearded lady-saint Wilgefortis or Frank Gehry's deconstructivist Dancing House), Žižkov Tower — or Park Tower Praha as it's been rebranded — has long been the subject of both admiration and ire, it has been embraced by some as a Czech national treasure and rejected by others discordant and aggressively futuristic eyesore in a city dominated by splendidly preserved historic architecture.

A high-ranking staple on "ugliest buildings in the world" lists, public opinion has actually warmed to the 709-foot edifice ever since 2000 when button-pushing Czech sculptor and provocateur David Černý unleashed 10 giant fiberglass babies on its pillars. Meant as a temporary installation, the babies were so beloved that they remain affixed to the tower.

Oversized ant-like infants aside, Žižkov Tower, which, like some of the other entrants on this list doubles as both a transmitter and observation tower, offers truly knockout 360-degree views from its public observatory. The tower's signature 'pods' are also home to a high-end restaurant and a one-room luxury hotel.