After a two-year break, the annual Landscape Festival will return to Prague over the summer months after launching on Thursday on Vítkov hill. Featuring a wide range of musicians and artists, the free festival aims to draw attention to forgotten public spaces and urban landscapes in the capital by transforming them into cultural hubs. The festival’s coordinator, Jakub Hepp, told me more about why Vítkov is seen as so special, and how the organisers intend to bring forgotten parts of Prague back into the spotlight.
On February 25, 1948, the Communist Party seized power in Czechoslovakia, marking the onset of four decades of hard-line, authoritarian rule. The Communist takeover was enabled by the party’s election success in 1946 and the resignation of the government’s remaining democratic ministers in February of 1948. President Edvard Beneš’ decision to confirm the Communists in power rather than dissolve the government and call new elections sealed the country’s fate for decades to come.
For around 40 years, so-called Victorious February was sacred for the Czechoslovak communist regime. The period from around February 17 and culminating on February 25 marked the party’s seizure of power when leader Klement Gottwald was finally named as prime minister of a communist dominated government.
Czechs are marking International Veterans Day, which is celebrated
internationally on November 11, the anniversary of the end of World War I.
Several events are being held across the country to mark the occasion.
A traditional ceremony took place at the national memorial on Prague’s Vítkov Hill on Saturday morning. The event was attended by defence minister Matin Stropnický, who awarded medals and honours to war veterans, resistance fighters and soldiers. Part of the ceremony was introduction of the book The Other Life, containing photographs and stories of military missions and activities.
České Budějovice has annulled honorary citizenship it awarded in the past to Czechoslovak Communist politician Klement Gottwald and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Councillors in the South Bohemian city voted for the move on Monday. Both Gottwald and Stalin received the honour in 1945. České Budějovice mayor Jiří Svoboda said there had been reasons to recognize them then, prior to their actions of the 1950s. The most recent recipient of honorary citizenship in České Budějovice was Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1979.
A major renovation of the army museum at the Military History Institute in Prague is due to begin this year, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence. The three-project is due to cost up to CZK 600 million. The building, which is located at the foot of the city’s Vítkov hill in the Žižkov district, is set to get a new entrance, while there will be twice as much space for exhibitions as at present.
Fifty-eight people, ten in memoriam, were awarded the highest honors bestowed by the Ministry of Defence at a special ceremony on Monday at the National Memorial at Vítkov Hill in the Czech capital. The event marked the end of WW II 71 years ago. During the ceremony, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický also promoted a number of war veterans to higher military rank and awarded commemorative medals to participants of the Prague Uprising in May 1945.
Prague’s municipal New Year’s Day fireworks show will this year take place at the city’s Vítkov Hill. In recent years the display, which draws tens of thousands of spectators, had been held on Letná Plain. The fireworks show will get underway at 6 PM and is set to last around 10 minutes. Overlooking the Žižkov district, Vítkov is home to a National Monument built in the 1930s in honour of Czechoslovak legionnaires. Access to the site will be closed on January 1, a police spokesperson said.