It was supposed to be just another regular Friday in totalitarian Czechoslovakia - and most of the day, November 17, 1989 was also common. No one knew that a revolution would break out in the evening, that the Communist regime would collapse in just a few hours and that the lives of virtually everyone would change beyond recognition. The triggering moment was the Prague demonstration of students, which was brutally attacked by the police - and finally something was moving in people. The fact that "beating our children" was the last straw, the actors joined the students and gradually the rest of the society, including the workers. The revolution, which began with police violence and ended with the first free elections after forty years of totalitarianism, was not redeemed by a single human life. Therefore, it was called "velvet".
Negotiations on the Czech Republic and Slovakia
Anyone who would follow the conversation of two men who took off their perfectly fitting jackets in the heat of August 1992 and sat down in the shade of the trees in a garden of Brno’s Černá Pole, would have got the impression that they were only sharing some confidential stories. But both men, respectively prime ministers of the Czech and Slovak governments Václav Klaus and Vladimír Mečiar, were actually negotiating the division of Czechoslovakia at Tugendhat Villa. For some, it was a sad parting, yet for others only hope and expectation. For the entire world it was a peaceful, friendly parting. Two sovereign states were born within Central Europe.
Steel heart and black gold
The mining and metallurgical industries already belonged among Czech tradition from the Middle Ages. This was confirmed at their peak in the Northern Moravian metropolis of Ostrava, which gave the town the title of the “steel heart of the republic”. Although this heart is currently beating with a softer rhythm, part of the town has however turned into an open-air industrial and deep underground gallery. Here, you can personally experience the feelings of a miner from a change of clothes in the historical chain-locker rooms, through an authentic descent into the mine in a lift, to the constricted atmosphere of the shaft at the Michal Mine. And after passing through the path of conversion of ore to iron, you can treat yourself to a cup of coffee at the apex of the former blast furnace in Dolní Vítkovice.
The Czech Republic's accession to NATO
The events of November 17, 1989 opened the possibility of establishing transatlantic ties as expressed by joining NATO in 1999.
Foto: Ladislav Renner
Accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union
The events of 17 November 1989 opened the possibility of a 'return to Europe' as expressed by the accession to the EU in 2004.
Foto: Ladislav Renner
Václav Havel Airport Prague
It is known about Václav Havel (1936–2011) that in spite of the fact that he loved visiting foreign countries, he considered flying as a necessary evil. And it may thus seem paradoxical that this airport carries his name. Yet what else other than an international airport, this “gate to the world”, better symbolises the free and unencumbered movement of people and thoughts, thus the values recognised by this temperamental fighter for freedom, human rights and the first President of the Czech Republic?
However, the Václav Havel Prague Airport is not only a place for departures, arrivals and transfers – within the framework of official excursions, it also offers an opportunity to see the back areas of the airport that ranks among the most modern in Central Europe from close quarters.
100th Anniversary of the Czech Republic
It was 1918. The desire of many Czechs and Slovaks to live in a common, sovereign state became reality. Czechoslovakia, the new republic on the map of Europe, started with the hope of a journey through history and soon gained international respect and recognition. One century has passed since then. The map of Europe has changed many times. The borders of our countries have also changed. Nevertheless, the year 1918 remains a turning point for our modern history. 100 years has been a beautiful, round anniversary.