Celebrate Czech culture and history for free on Oct. 28

Prague's new military museum as well as several landmark buildings and galleries for free today.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.10.2022 18:15:00 (updated on 28.10.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

Oct. 28 is Czechoslovak Independence Day, marking the day Czechoslovakia split from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.

The First Czechoslovak Republic, as the era from 1918 to 1938 is called, was declared on Oct. 28, 1918, when novelist Alois Jirásek read the proclamation of the independence of Czechoslovakia in front of the then-new Saint Wenceslas statue.

Today the holiday is celebrated with the president handing out state awards to prominent Czechs as well as many places throughout the Czech capital opening their doors to the public.

Oct. 28 is also a day off of work for many. If you're planning on staying in Prague over the long weekend, here are some tips for what to do and see on Czechoslovak Independence Day.

Explore a newly refurbished palace

The newly renovated Clam-Gallas Palace
The newly renovated Clam-Gallas Palace

The City of Prague's open day takes place this year on Oct. 28. The annual event allows the public access to several of the city's most handsome and historic buildings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This year visitors can peek inside the Mayor's Residence, the Škoda lounges, and the New Town Hall. Newly this year, following years of reconstruction, the Clam-Gallas Palace on Mariánské náměstí will also be open. In September, a comprehensive renovation of the palace was completed.

Clam-Gallas Palace, an important but neglected landmark in Prague’s city center, is regaining its original beauty after over three years of restoration work and repairs. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed in the Baroque-style palace when he was in Prague, and the city hopes to capitalize on the building’s cultural connections for tourism.

It will become the only Baroque palace in Prague fully accessible to the public. After the renovation, the City Museum of Prague should launch a major Baroque exhibition here. Other areas should house a restaurant, a café, or a gallery shop.

Also notable this year, there will be activities for kids on the ground floor of the New Town Hall. See a full schedule of events here.

Wallenstein Palace, which houses the Czech Senate, is also open for free to the public on Friday, as are the surrounding lusch gardens. The public holiday is particularly special, as you will be able to enter the normally inaccessible premises, such as the Meeting Hall or the Kolovrat Palace.

Buildings of the Chamber of Deputies in Malostranského náměstí will also be accessible gratis to the public. Halls, meeting rooms, and offices of certain parliamentary committees will be available to visit. See opening times for both here.

In addition, Prague’s Municipal House (Obecní dům) also offers free entry on Friday. This building is particularly significant for the holiday: Czecosklovaia’s independence was officially announced here.

Check out a new museum devoted to Czech military history

Photo via Facebook / Vojenský historický ústav Praha
Photo via Facebook / Vojenský historický ústav Praha

The repaired Military Museum with a new display of the military history of the Czech territory from the first Slavic settlement in the sixth century to the present was ceremonially opened in the Žižkov earlier this October.

The museum will open to the public for the first time on the national holiday on Oct. 28. The exhibition area has been tripled covering more than 5,000 square meters in total, and the overall reconstruction cost more than CZK 900 million.

The museum opened for the first time in 1932 with its collections originating from WWI. The current museum is divided into seven sections covering the periods from the sixth to the 21st centuries. The Military Museum's new display combines unique exhibits with modern technologies and models.

The exhibition shows medieval weapons as well as scenes from famous historical battles. Several sections are dedicated to WWI and the establishment of Czechoslovakia and WWII, covering all fronts where Czechoslovak soldiers were fighting as well as the 1942 assassination of high-ranking Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich by Czechoslovak paratroopers.

Other sections display the military in the Communist Czechoslovakia and the subsequent development of the Czech military after the Communist regime's fall and Czechoslovakia's split in 1993, including its deployment in foreign missions.

Read more about the newly opened museum and how to plan your visit here. Admission is free.

Gallery hop

The National Gallery in Prague remains open on Oct. 28 and offers free entry. Celebrate the day of the establishment of the independent Czechoslovak state by visiting the exhibitions 1918⁠–⁠⁠1938: The First Republic, or Old Masters, Old Masters II, Medieval Art in Bohemia and Central Europe 1200⁠⁠–⁠⁠ 1550, 1796⁠⁠–⁠⁠1918: The Art of a Long Century. 

The National Museum opens the doors of its buildings for free as well on Oct. 28.

Visit the newly opened Music Menagerie at the Czech Museum of Music (the family friendly exhibit showcases classical comoposers' connections to wildlife). Newly opened at the National Museum's historic building, SDGs Innovations for a Sustainable Future, is an interactive augmented reality exhibition, artistically rendered by renowned Czech graphic designer Pavel Fuksa. The exhibit shows how scientific progress and innovation are helping fulfil the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

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