Thirty years ago, the communist government of Czechoslovakia fell and the country set off on a journey to democracy. Thus the 30th anniversary of the 17th of November has to be celebrated properly! Prague, where the Revolution took off, as well as other cities will commemorate the events of 1989. So, pin the Czech tricolour to your coat and come celebrate!
Prague – the Centre of CelebrationsOn Sunday, 17th November, Národní třída – the boulevard by the National Theatre in Prague – will be opened only for pedestrians, allowing you to experience the atmosphere of the Velvet Revolution. It is where the police operation against the peaceful demonstration took place and that was the final straw for the entire nation that led to the Revolution 30 years ago. This year, the street will change into a large pedestrian zone with a diverse cultural programme. The Korzo Národní street fair will offer concerts, theatre and dance performances, exhibitions, author’s readings, or a light installation. Other places related to the 1989 Revolution will also join in.
Albertov is preparing the Students’ Albertov Festival that will commemorate the memorable days of the 17th of November: the Day for Freedom and Democracy, and the International Students’ Day. The programme at Albertov will end with a re-enactment of the procession of 1989 that will lead from Albertov through Vyšehrad and Rašínovo nábřeží to Národní třída.
There will also be a satirical carnival parade that will go through the centre, called the Velvet Fair, with costumes and live theatre re-enactment of the students’ procession. Its aim is to cultivate a form of political protest using exaggeration, humour and satire. In the evening, the Concert for the Future, one of the top events of the celebrations, will start at the top part of St. Wenceslas Square. The top Czech artists will perform there.
Other institutions are also joining the celebrations. The National Gallery has prepared a gift for everyone on the 17th of November – free admission to its collection expositions. The National Museum will open the tunnel between the historical building of the National Museum and the opposite museum building, the former Federal Assembly, on the day when the Velvet Revolution started. Also the Museum will open its first permanent exposition dedicated to the Czech and Slovak history of the 20th century, which will also include the events of 1989. The top show will be video-mapping on the façade of the National Museum historical building.
Come to the Prague centre and celebrate the Day for Freedom and Democracy together with us!
Brno Celebrations and Period SouvenirsThe South Moravian city of Brno is also prepared for the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of democracy. At 1 p.m. on the 17th of November, a programme full of music, entertainment and education for the citizens and visitors will start at Freedom Square. Contemporaries, speakers, poets and music bands will take turns on several stages and scenes. In the evening, a torchlight procession will go through the city. And on the 20th of November, Brno will commemorate the chain of hands, by which the Brno citizens peacefully protested against the imprisonment of dissidents, at Malinovského Square in the form of a happening.
However, if you are not in Brno on Sunday, 17th November, don’t despair. You can still commemorate the Velvet Revolution there in an interesting way. The Brno Information Centre offers retro souvenirs! You can buy a special small clasp knife, designed as a fish, which every boy used to have, or Igráček – a plastic doll presenting various professions, flavoured chewing gum with a tattoo, which used to be hard to come by before the Revolution, or a bar of soap with a deer, commonly used for laundry in those days. A special adventure is the tourist ride by an old bus, called Zn. Jízda retro Karosou. The passengers will be taken to eight stops, such as Hotel Myslivna, the Vinohrady housing development, paddock Grand Prix in Bosonohy, Mariánské údolí or the tram tunnel under Špilberk that leads to Pekařská. You definitely won’t be bored!
The Plzeň Path of FreedomThe West Bohemian city of Plzeň will also commemorate this important anniversary. People there can follow the Path of Freedom. It will take them to several memorable points in the historical city centre, such as Smetanovy sady where the exhibition called Riding Velvet opens on 4th November, or Šafaříkovy sady to Václav Havel’s bench, or to the art installation in Křižíkovy sady. The main stop will be at the English Embankment, where an improvised Plzeň Café with a stage will be open all day. The former seat of the Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia at Americka 42 will also play its role in the programme, as it will open to the public at this special occasion. Plzeň, together with other cities, will illuminate one of the buildings in the tricolour at the end of the event. In short, there will be lots to see in Plzeň on 17th November.
The whole country will also participate in a unique gesture: at 17:11 on the 17th of November, all the church and city hall bells will ring, to commemorate the value of freedom as well as those who have fought for freedom.