Legendary Traveller and Writer Miroslav Zikmund Dies at 102

Czech traveller, writer, and publicist Miroslav Zikmund has died at the age of 102.

Miroslav Zikmund is known mainly for the travel expeditions he made together with Jiří Hanzelka between the 1940s and 1960s and during which they, literally, travelled all over the world.

They described the experiences gained during their travels in their books and thus enabled people in Czechoslovakia to learn something new about foreign countries.

They even had a radio show on Czechoslovak Radio, where the nation could listen to the duo’s international adventures.

However, after 1968, their activities were impeded by the regime, therefore, Miroslav Zikmund was able to return to travelling only after 1989.

Hanzelka and Zikmund shared the fate of other Czechoslovak dissidents in the post-Prague Spring era, living meagerly for 21 years in menial jobs until the Velvet Revolution in 1989.

Hanzelka was one of the dissident speakers at Wenceslas Square when the revolution began on 19 November. With the fall of the Communist government, Hanzelka and Zikmund were again acclaimed as heroes, with extensive interviews and rebroadcasts of their films.

Life of Dreams and Reality, a new book about their travel experiences, was published on 22 April 1997, the fiftieth anniversary of the start of their first trip.

Miroslav Zikmund Dies at 102

Mr. Zikmund has received a number of awards for his lifetime contribution. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Tomas Bata University in 2014.

He is also a holder of the E. E. Kisch Award, Medal of Merit of the Second Grade. In October 2014, President Miloš Zeman awarded Zikmund with the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. 

In Zlín there’s a museum that commemorates the duo’s travels with a large archive of memorabilia, including travel journals, 700 newspaper articles, 120,000 photographs, 1,290 taped radio broadcasts, and souvenirs from around the world.


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