Czechoslovak State Day: National Gallery in Prague Opens for Free on October 28

The National Gallery in Prague will open up Veletržní palác (Trade Fair Palace), Schwarzenberg Palace, Sternberg Palace, and Convent of St. Agnes for free on October 28, 2022. 

From 10:00 to 18:00, you will be able to visit four branches of the National Gallery in Prague for free. The action is timed to coincide with Independent Czechoslovak State Day.

The following exhibitions are actually undergoing:

  • Old Masters I (Schwarzenberg Palace)
  • Old Masters II (Sternberg Palace)
  • Medieval Art in Bohemia and Central Europe 1200-1550 (Convent of St. Agnes)
  • 1796-1918: The Art of a Long Century (Veletržní palác)
  • 1918-1938: First Republic (Veletržní palác)

History – what you need to know

To understand the origin and importance of 28 October, we need to go back to the end of WWI. During the year of 1918, the guarantee was gained that the Triple Entente countries would accept the future Czechoslovakia as a sovereign state.

This unique position among the former Austria-Hungary states made the official creation of Czechoslovakia a swift process from there on, and on 28 October it was established in Geneva that a new republic with Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk as president has just emerged. As soon as the news got to Prague, the public was ecstatic, documents were signed and the official proclamation was made that the Czech and Slovak nations finally had their proper state.

The national holiday of the Creation of Czechoslovakia was cancelled by the Nazi regime when the occupation period started in 1939, which stirred passionate protests in Prague.

As is usually the case, many of the protesting were students, and one of them was none other than Jan Opletal. Opletal was wounded during the protests and died some days later. This sparked more anti-occupation protests that culminated on 17 November 1939. However, more on that date in one of the next chapters.

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