The First World War that rewrote the history of Europe ended in 1918. Old states ceased to exist and new states were born: an independent Czechoslovakia was among the latter. Today, one hundred years later, Czechoslovakia no longer exists, but the Czech Republic nonetheless commemorates this momentous anniversary. The year 2018 marks this significant point in history with celebrations that will come to a peak on 28 October, the day when independent Czechoslovakia was officially founded in 1918. We would like to invite you to the most important events taking place on or around this most important day. Let’s celebrate one hundred years of independence together with the people of the Czech Republic!
Prague – The Capital is CelebratingThe astronomical clock in Old Town Square was restarted on 28 September following its complete restoration and reconstruction, symbolically kicking off a month of celebrations of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. The Prague astronomical clock is unique: it is the oldest mechanical machine in the world.
The National Gallery has prepared several new expositions for the occasion of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. The expositions are available on two levels of the Fair Trade Palace. The main exhibition entitled 1918–1938: The First Republic opens on 24 October and focuses on the art from the foundation of Czechoslovakia until 1938. There are not only works of fine art to be seen, but also examples of culture from other areas of life during the first two decades of Czechoslovakia, including literature, design, and graphic arts.
The National Museum will also be celebrating. After many years of costly reconstruction, the Historic Building of the National Museum will reopen to the public. The National Museum will join in the festivities with its Czech-Slovak / Slovak-Czech Exhibition 2018 (28/10/2018–30/06/2019). The exhibition will show you how two nations decided to form an independent state and how the joint state of the Czechs and Slovaks functioned until its dissolution in 1992. The National Technical Museum is opening its exhibition Made in Czechoslovakia: The Industry that Ruled the World (19/10/2018–30/06/2019), which maps the technical and industrial development of Czechoslovakia and proudly displays the many unique Czech and Slovak products that have become famous all over the world.
On 27 October there will be thematic video mapping projected on the building of the National Museum on St Wenceslas Square, and there will be concerts on three stages on St Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, and the Republic Square. Props and actors in the streets will evoke the atmosphere of the First Republic in various places in Prague. If you like classical music, visit the National Theatre on 27 October where the opera company will perform the historic opera Libušeabout the mythical Czech princess and the beginnings of the Czech state. At the request of composer Bedřich Smetana, the opera is only performed at important Czech events and anniversaries. And at 4pm on 28 October, Prague’s Rudolfinum will be filled with the sounds of a special concert of the Czech Radio Symphonic Orchestra commemorating the 100th anniversary.
Open Door DaysOn 28 October, the Czechoslovak Independence Day itself, a lot of interesting sites, state buildings, and monuments will be open. For example, you can tour the Municipal House on Republic Square, the representative areas of the House of Deputies (Thunovský, Šternberský, and Smiřický Palaces) as well as the Senate (Valdštejnský and Kolovratský Palaces) of the Czech Parliament or the house of Tyrš at Malá strana.
Celebrations from West to EastPrague is not the only city to celebrate. There will be celebrations all over the Czech Republic, as well as across its borders. For example, the West Bohemian city of Plzeň will offer tours of the city in the First Republic style, or you can visit places that are not usually open to the public. The original manuscript of the Czech anthem will be on display at the Plzeň city hall. There will be a procession of lights through the city and the celebrations will culminate with fireworks in the Czech national colours.
Brno in South Moravia will also commemorate the 100th anniversary. The Brno City Museum at Špilberk Castle is organising a large-scale exhibition entitled 1918 – What the War Gave Us and What it Took Away. Until the end of the year, you can see 9 of the 20 canvases of the famous Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha at the Brno fairgrounds.
Tomáš Baťa, the founder of the world-famous Baťa shoe company, contributed to the boom of the East Moravian city of Zlín in the first half of the 20th century. The Southeast Moravian Museum in Zlín opened a permanent exhibition dedicated to the history of the Baťa Company, its activities, and all the people inspired by the city’s business atmosphere.
On the day of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York. Four days before that, on 24 October, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra will also perform in London as part of the Czech Week event.