National Museum opens former communist Parliament

21. 8. 2009 16:50
After years of broadcasting, Radio Free Europe handed the keys of the building to the Museum
Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Prague - A week ago the Czech National Museum opened its newest building to the public for the first time in its history.

It served as the Prague Bourse until the World War II when it was transformed into a storage house and hospital for injured soldiers.

But its most famously infamous history was yet to come. In the 1960s and 1970s the building was transformed into Czechoslovakia's  communist parliament - the Federal Assembly.

"This is a place where history was made," head of the National Museum Michal Lukeš pointed out in an interview for Czech public service radio. In this very building the one-party rule of Czechoslovakia's communists was revoked in 1989.

Foto: Ludvík Hradilek

Then Alexander Dubček who attempted to liberalize the country´s socialism and became the symbol of the Prague Spring reform process spoke in this building.

Among other celebrities that visited the building are British Queen Elizabeth II and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Taste of history

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the US-sponsored Radio Free Europe rented the building for a symbolic price of one crown.

In June this year, the RFE handed the building to the National Museum, which decided to open the building to the public. The visitors can take organized tours for 80 crowns.

The Museum has prepared a series of exhibitions to be displayed in the building in the coming months.

The first one will open on September 15 and will show a vast collection of gold coins from Slovakia.  The November 17 will see an exhibition that will review the heady days of the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The December exhibition will cover 100 years of the Olympic Games.


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