The Czech and Slovak prime ministers, Andrej Babiš and Peter Pellegrini
said, on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Czechoslovakia, that
due to seven decades of coexistance in a common state Czechs and Slovaks
are closer than any other nations in the world.
Prime Minister Pellegrini said this was something that must be nurtured and developed if it was to be preserved for future generations.Prime Minister Babiš said that he wished both nations another 100 years of freedom, democracy and pride..
Today the Czech Republic and Slovakia are close allies in the EU, with the only marked difference in that Slovakia has adopted the euro, while the Czech Republic has no immediate plans to do so.
One of the highlights of the centenary celebrations in Prague was the
biggest military parade in the country’s modern history. The parade on
Evropská street showcased the best that the country’s security forces
have to offer. Over 2,000 people including professional soldiers from the
country’s elite units, police officers, firemen and emergency crews took
part, displaying the latest military technology. A planned flyby of Gripen
army planes and helicopters went ahead, despite heavy rain.
The parade was viewed, from a special tribune, by Czech and Slovak top officials, visiting foreign guests and members of the diplomatic corps. Among the foreign guests present was US Secretary of Defence James Mattis.
The historic building of the National Museum, which was ceremonially opened
by Czech and Slovak top officials and visiting foreign dignitaries on
Saturday, opened its doors to the general public at precisely 10 am on
Sunday. Despite heavy rain people queued up for the opportunity to be among
the first to see it.
The museum, which underwent a complex renovation over the past three and a half years, offers visitors an exhibition documenting the coexistence of Czechs and Slovaks in the 20th century.
The museum opened with a special ceremony and video-mapping show also highlighting the milestones of the country’s common history. It will be free of charge to visitors until the end of the year.
Czech and Slovak top officials, among them Czech President Miloš Zeman and
Slovak President Andrej Kiska, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Slovak
prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, gathered at Prague’s Vítkov Memorial
before mid-day on Sunday for a traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to mark the centenary of the birth of
independent Czechoslovakia and pay homage to those who laid down their
lives for the country.
Shortly after, President Miloš Zeman appointed new army and police generals. A ceremonial change-of-guard at Prague Castle at midday attracted dozens of people, despite cold weather and heavy rain.
Centenary celebrations marking the birth of independent Czechoslovakia on
October 28, 1918 are being held around the country. Several hundred new
professional soldiers, police officers and firemen made their pledge of
allegiance at Prague Castle on Saturday in the presence of President Miloš
Zeman. Hundreds of people attended the event.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Saturday hosted a reception for visiting foreign officials who took part in the celebrations. It was attended among others by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Pellegrini, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and government officials from Croatia, Slovenia and other countries.
In the afternoon President Zeman, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini attended the ceremonial re-opening of the historical building of the National Museum in Prague. Its first exhibition, after being closed for reconstruction for over three years, is devoted to the common history of Czechs and Slovaks in the 20th century. The museum will open to the public on Sunday and will be free of charge until the end of the year.
In the regions the centenary is being marked by public gatherings, concerts, exhibitions, theatre performances or the unveiling of a statue to the country’s first president, T.G. Masaryk. Some schools have devoted special attention to life in the years of the First Republic, such as putting on a fashion show in period dress.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petřícek has welcomed the fact that the
European Parliament selected the jailed Ukrainian film director Oleg
Sentsov for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
In a statement published on the ministry’s web page Petříček said that by his conscientious moral attitude, Oleg Sentsov had gained international respect. His personal courage reminds us of the importance to advocate for human rights in the world, which is a longstanding commitment of the Czech Republic, the Czech foreign minister noted.
He further expressed the hope that Sentsov would be able to take part in the award ceremony in December and that Russia would release all prisoners of conscience imprisoned in connection with the illegal annexation of Crimea.
Hundreds of people joined Saturday’s March for the Republic organized by
the Czech physical fitness organization Sokol that has branches the world
The march set out from Prague’s Kampa Island, across the Legionaries Bridge, past the National Theatre to Wenceslas Square. It was led by a horse-drawn carriage with an actor dressed as President T.G. Masaryk, who symbolically led the march to the statue of St. Wenceslas, the nation’s patron saint and accompanied by a live band.
The Sokol (falcon) association was founded in 1862 to promote an active way of life, exercise and fair play as well as a commitment to values such as democracy and humanism. It survived adverse historical periods such as the two world wars and communism.
Many Czech historical buildings and state institutions opened their doors
to the public as part of the centenary celebrations this weekend. People
are able to visit Hrzánský palace and Lichtenstein palace.
Prague’s Municipal House, the site of the proclamation of the Czechoslovak Republic one hundred years ago, has also opened its doors to the public, as have a number of Czech ministries, including the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.