Czechs commemorate 99th anniversary of founding of Czechoslovakia

Czechs marked the 99th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia at the end of the First World War on October 28, the country’s national day and holiday.

Vítkov memorial, photo: ČTKVítkov memorial, photo: ČTK State ceremonies to mark the occasion took place in the capital Prague with a traditional laying of wreaths by state figures and politicians at the tomb of the unknown soldier at Prague’s Vítkov memorial with all top state figures attending. Commemorative actions also took place at the statue of the first Czechoslovak president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, at his statue near Prague castle.

Some landmarks, such as Prague’s Municipal House, where independence was declared in 1918, the Prague residence of the prime minister, and Prague City Hall were opened to the public on the occasion.

The commemorations were due to culminate in the evening at Prague Castle with state awards to personalities from across the social, cultural, and sporting spectrum. President Miloš Zeman was expected to distribute more awards this year with speed skater Martina Sáblíková, singer Jaromír Nohavica, and mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupl, tipped to be on the list of recipients.

Věra Špinarová, photo: Czech Radio Věra Špinarová, photo: Czech Radio The family of deceased singer Věra Špinarová said they would refuse an expected award, saying the singer had not liked Zeman and did not think he represented the nation as a whole. The ceremony was also due to be boycotted by university rectors as part of a long running disagreement with the head of state and by some politicians.