One is so used to black-and-white photographs depicting Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the founder of Czechoslovakia, as stern, dignified, even iconic looking that a video posted on YouTube in which he playfully speaks to camera is almost startling. More
In a special programme to mark Czech Statehood Day, I am joined in the studio by Ondřej Matějka, who is the Deputy Director of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. He has agreed to help me explore some issues related to heraldry, meaning national symbols and the iconography of the Czech people. More
The Prague art gallery Mánes is set to reopen after a two-year renovation on Wednesday with an exhibition of works by caricaturist and illustrator Ivan Steiger. Restaurant and office spaces at Mánes are still awaiting building approval, with its operators saying they would like to open the entire complex to the public in the summer. The Functionalist structure hosted the 80th birthday party of President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in 1930, the year it opened with a show looking back at a century of Czech art.
President Miloš Zeman on Thursday delivered his first Christmas message to the nation. The ten-minute address, broadcast on public radio and television, was an uncritical reflection on his first year in office. More
Welcome to our special extended programme marking the October 28th national holiday in the Czech Republic. Ninety-five years ago today, Czechoslovakia declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, becoming an independent state. The so-called First Republic thus came into being, at first under much celebrated president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and subsequently Edvard Beneš, who would witness the country’s dismemberment in 1938 under the Munich Agreement. Although Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, Czechs still mark October 28th as the date in which their ambitions for a self-governing independent state were finally realised. More
The Czech Embassy in Washington is on Thursday launching its annual Mutual Inspirations Festival, which this year will remember the life and work of the late Czech playwright, dissident and president Václav Havel. The festival, which runs until the end of October, will include film screenings, concerts, lectures, exhibitions and theatre performances, all of which will have free admission. Previous editions have been dedicated to T.G. Masaryk, Anton Dvorák and Miloš Forman.
Prague’s National Museum will this weekend exhibit the diplomas of Czechoslovakia’s first three presidents, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Edvard Beneš and Emil Hácha. The historical parchment documents – which officially informed each president of his election – will be on show on Saturday and Sunday at the usually inaccessible Presidential Salon at the museum’s Vítkov National Memorial building.
If you tune in to Czech Radio on New Year’s Day, at some point you will hear the stirring tones of the presidential fanfare, introducing the president’s annual address to the nation. It was Czechoslovakia’s first head of state, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, who established the tradition, when he spoke to listeners on the Czechoslovakia’s tenth birthday in 1928. Here is a short extract from his address, which also happens to be one the oldest recordings in our archives: More
Lany chateau, the summer residence of Czech presidents, opened to the public on Saturday with a guided tour by none-other than the first lady herself, Mrs. Livia Klaus. Hundreds of people queued up since 6 am for the special treat and Mrs. Klausova smiled and joked as she took groups of people round the chateau and well-tended park gardens. Lany chateau is rarely open to the public. During President Masaryk’s time in office it only opened its gates to the public twice. The last time it did so –during President Klaus first term in office - it attracted 11 thousand visitors.
The Czechoslovak legions occupy an almost legendary place in Czech history. They comprise the armed forces that fought during and after World War I on the allied side in pursuit of an independent Czechoslovakia. The biggest force, and most potent myths, centre on the Russian force, which became embroiled in the civil war, spending three years and travelling thousands of miles before returning home. We look at the myths and facts about their exploits. More