World's biggest stadium for 250,000 fans is now abandoned relic of Soviet era where Rolling Stones once played | The SunMay 8, 2023
THE world's biggest stadium has now been reduced to merely a training ground after falling into disrepair.
Prague's Great Strahov Stadium could house an eye-watering 250,000 fans in its pomp, but has seen better days.
Designed by Czech architect Alois Dryak in the 1920s, Great Strahov Stadium was initially used for synchronised gymnastics events between the First and Second World Wars.
As Europe approached full-blown conflict, the stadium hosted an anti-war event in 1938 that drew an astonishing 348k crowd.
The enormous field covers 63,500 square metres – enough to house EIGHT football pitches.
While it continued to host gymnastics throughout the last century, Great Strahov diversified its schedule following the end of communism in the late 1980s.
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Suddenly fans could flock to the stadium to watch previously banned concerts, with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Guns N' Roses, U2 and Bon Jovi packing out the stands.
The Rolling Stones proved particularly popular, drawing crowds of over 100,000 on two separate occasions.
With Great Strahov getting older, however, its facilities began to fall into disrepair.
Following its rocking 1990s there were even talks of knocking it down entirely – although these were thwarted when it gained UNESCO Heritage Site status in 2003.
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While its pitches remain in use, the stands have been allowed to slowly fall apart and are no longer safely habitable.
There were even suggestions that the once Great Strahov could be transformed into an Olympic village, should Prague win their bid to host the 2016 Games.
But when they were awarded to Rio, this plan was KO'd.
Instead, it is now used as a training ground by Czech side Sparta Prague.
It has been suggested in the past that Great Strahov could be converted into hotels, shops and restaurants.
But issues over its historical status have also put those plans out of action.
As it is, the creaky remains of this once-special arena are still intact in Prague's Strahov district, west of Petrin Hill.
But what lies next remains unclear, with any potential development of the Soviet relic looking difficult to pull off.
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