Czech president Miloš Zeman and his counterpart Andrej Kiska took a symbolic ride on a vintage train from the Czech town of Hodonín to the Slovak town of Topoľčianky (Nitra Region) on July 29.
Both towns have a symbolic meaning, as Hodonín was the birthplace of first Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, and Czechoslovak presidents used to have a summer residence in Topoľčianky.
In Topoľčianky, they dropped in at a first-republic-style fair and visited the National Stud Farm and Topoľčianky Castle. Kiska and Zeman laid flowers at Masaryk’s statue there and signed commemorative papers to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic.
The joint train ride is part of celebrations marking the centenary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia; the date of the event was also symbolic as Masaryk visited the Topoľčianky Castle for the first time on July 23, 1923.”
If the establishment of Czechoslovakia hadn’t happened at that time, Slovakia wouldn’t have existed in the form we currently know it,” the Slovak president said, according to the newswire. “Czechoslovakia was born one hundred years ago. If it hadn’t, Slovakia as we know it, wouldn’t exist today. A hundred years ago, the founders of Czechoslovakia, Mr. Masaryk, and Mr. Štefánik, completed their efforts in order for Czechs and Slovaks to have their own territory and statehood. And exactly 95 years ago, President Masaryk first arrived at Topoľčianky to start a fine tradition of spending a month or two here in Slovakia and governing the Czechoslovak state from here.”