The 28th of October is the day to remember the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. If you are in Prague on this day, you probably won’t see many celebrations, as ordinary Czechs will just be enjoying a day off from work by going shopping, hanging out at home, or going to their cottage to prepare the garden for winter. But don’t let that fool you. The 28th is one of the most important holidays in the Czech Republic. So let us tell you a more about the historical background and what festivities you might encounter on your visit.
Nineteen hundred eighteen was an important year for world relations. After four long, bloody years, WWI ended and the large Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed; in part thanks to Czechoslovakian troops fighting against the monarchy. Czechs and Slovaks fought for independence during decades of struggle and were finally successful. The treaty of independence was signed in Prague at the Municipal House at the Square of the Republic (Náměstí republiky). Look for the memorial plaque on the left side of the building close to the Powder Tower.
The first President of the Czechoslovakia was Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first and last president, who not only worked, but also lived at the Prague Castle. The former Czechoslovakia was much larger than today’s Czech Republic. And consisted of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia (part of Ukraine) regions. The nation stood for twenty years, until the beginning of the WWII in 1938, and was a thriving modern democracy.
Many think that this is the reason why the democratic transformation after Communism was quite smooth in the Czech Republic (but still not trouble free!) in comparison to some other post-Communist countries, which had never had a democratic system before the totalitarian regimes.
You’ll notice Czech flags on the trams and buses and state institutions on 28th October. Traditionally, the Czech President also gives out state honors at a banquet at the Prague Castle.
People also come to put flowers down at the feet of President Masaryk’s statue in front of the Prague Castle, as well as at WWI memorials across the country too. Government buildings including the Prime Minister’s house and Mayor of Prague’s house will be open for free to the public. Also the Municipal House is offering special tours from 9 AM to 3 PM.
There will also be a gathering directly at the Old Town Square this year, in which has been specially organized for to protest the ceremony of the Presidential honors, which has been a subject of political scandal during the term of the current President, Milos Zeman. If you would like to learn more about it, just let us know!
Long live the Czech Republic :)
As in many European countries also in the Czech Republic we consider the end of April and the beginning of the May to be quite magical....
Easter in Czech Republic is likely to be different from anything that you have experienced at home. We have put together some Easter...