Czech anniversaries in 2020: battles, birthdays, and the last ice hockey World Cup win

The battles of White Mountain and Vítkov as well as the Prague Uprising have significant anniversaries

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 10.01.2020 14:15:12 (updated on 10.01.2020) Reading time: 5 minutes

After two years filled with significant anniversaries, it is time for a bit of a pause. Still, there are a few notable dates in 2020. The most significant ones all relate to battles. The Prague Uprising took place 75 years ago, while the Battle of White Mountain was 400 years ago and Battle of Vítkov 600 years ago. People can likely expect to see re-enactments, though details have not yet been announced.

Other anniversaries include a major plane crash, the demolition of the Těšnov rail station, and the collapse of two arches of Charles Bridge.

sports, it has been 35 years since Czechoslovakia won the Ice Hockey
World Cup.

January 9, 1890: Writer Karel Čapek was born 130 years ago in Malé Svatoňovice. He would author many works of science fiction including the play play R.U.R., which introduced the word robot. He also was a noted social critic. He died December 25, 1938, in Prague due to illness.

January 9, 1520: The first silver dollar coins were made 500 years ago at Joachimsthal, now Jáchymov in the Karlovy Vary region. The size and purity of the coin became a standard for exchange in Europe, and the word “thaler” evolved into “dollar.” The Austrian Mint still produces silver thaler coins with the image of Empress Maria Theresa for collectors, and replicas of different historical thalers can be found in souvenir shops.

Ema Destinnová in 1919.

January 27, 1930: Opera singer Ema Destinnová died 90 years ago, just short of her 52nd birthday. She is buried at Vyšehrad along with other famous Czechs. Her opera career was hindered by her support of an independent Czechoslovakia, as authorities wouldn’t let her travel. Her face is on the 2,000 CZK banknote.

January 31, 1745: Deadline for Jews to leave Prague, under an edict signed 275 years ago by Empress Maria Theresa on December 18, 1744. Jews were supposed to leave all of Bohemia and Moravia by June. They were allowed to return four years later but had to pay a Toleration Tax. Maria Theresa claimed the Jews had conspired against her during the War of the Austrian Succession.

Old Jewish Cemetery at Žižkov. via Raymond Johnston

6, 1990: the Czech Socialist Republic was renamed the Czech Republic,
following after Slovakia made a similar change on March 1. The
Czechoslovak Socialist Republic would be renamed the Czechoslovak
Federal Republic on March 29, and then the Czech and Slovak
Federative Republic on April 23.

March 7, 1850: First Republic President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk is born 170 years ago in Kopčany, now part of Slovakia. He would be re-elected president in the first contested Czechoslovak elections 100 years ago on May 27, 1920.

The Prague-Těšnov rail station

March 16, 1985: The Prague-Těšnov rail station was torn down 35 years ago to make way for the highway that now bisects Prague. The Neo-Renaissance style building with monumental arch had been in operation since 1875 but had fallen into disrepair. Plans to reconstruct the facade as part of a new art space have been mentioned from time to time, but so far nothing has happened.

April 6, 2015: It has been five years since the last expansion of Prague’s metro system, with the opening of four stations on the Metro A line: Bořislavka, Nádraží Veleslavín, Petřiny, and Nemocnice Motol. The lack of escalators at Nádraží Veleslavín, which connects to the airport bus, made international headlines. The next expansion will be the opening of the first stations of the new Metro D line.

uprising plaque
Memorial plaque to Czechs who died fighting Nazis at the end of World War II. via Raymond Johnston

3, 1985: The last victory of Czechoslovakia in the Ice Hockey World
Cup was 35 years ago at what is now Tipsort Arena in Výstaviště
Holešovice. Canada came in second and the Soviet Union third. Jiří
Králík was voted the best goaltender of the tournament, and
Vladimír Růžička won praise from the media as a forward.

May 5, 1945: It has been 75 years since the Prague Uprising, in the final days of World War II. Plaques honoring civilians who died in the uprising, often featuring a hand with two fingers in the air, can be seen all over the city. The uprising lasted until May 9, when the last German forces left the city and Soviet tanks arrived. The Astrological Clock in Old Town Square was damaged by fire as the Germans left. Related anniversaries include the liberation of Plzeň on May 6.

Negrelli Viaduct
Negrelli Viaduct arches being repaired in June, 2019. via Raymond Johnston

June 1, 1850: The Negrelli viaduct (Negrelliho viadukt) opened 170 years ago linking Prague 7 and Prague 8, and still is one of the longest railway bridges in Europe. It is currently being rebuilt and should go back into operation during the anniversary.

11, 1960: Prague expanded 60 years ago with the addition of the
Ruzyně and Čimice districts. Ruzyně was added to give the city
control over what is now called Václav Havel Airport Prague. Čimice
was added due to urban sprawl.

Re-enactment of the Battle of Vítkov. via Raymond Johnston

July 14 and November 1, 1420: The 600th anniversary of the Hussite War is one of the bigger historical events. July 14 marks the Battle of Vítkov, while November 1 saw a less-famous engagement at Vyšehrad. Religious leader Jan Hus died 605 years ago in July 6, 1415, burned at the stake in Konstanz, Germany.

September 1–4, 1890: A flood 130 years ago heavily damaged Charles Bridge, with two pillars collapsing and three more getting damaged. The bridge was repaired by the autumn of 1892, though some statues had to be replaced with copies.

charles bridge 1890
Charles Bridge after the floods of 1890. Public domain

20, 2010: It has been 10 years since the Radotín Bridge (Radotínský
most) opened as part of the Prague Ring Road. It is Its length is
2,291 meters long, and 40 meters above ground at its tallest. It is
also the city’s busiest bridge in terms of the number of cars
handled per day.

October 30, 1975: The worst air accident in Czech history was 45 years ago when Inex-Adria Aviopromet Flight 450 crashed into the Suchdol garden colony near Na Rybářce in a thick fog. Some 75 passengers and four crew perished, while 40 passengers and one crew member survived. The DC-9 was going from Tivat, Yugoslavia to Prague.

Statues of cosmonauts at Háje. via Raymond Johnston

November 7, 1980: The Prague metro system expands with the opening of stations between Kaceřov and Kosmonautů, now called Háje, on the Metro C line, linking the Jižní Město housing project to the city center.

November 8, 1620: the Battle of White Mountain (Bilá Hora) took place 400 years ago, at the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War. Catholic-backed forces would quickly beat Czech Protestants in what is now Prague 6. The Czech lands would be under Habsburg control until 1918.

bila hora 01
Battle of Bilá Hora in 2018. via Raymond Johnston

24, 1990: The City of Prague Act established 56 city districts 30
years ago, reorganizing the structure of city administration. The
city now has 57 self-governing districts, as Troja was added in 1992,
splitting from Prague 7.

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