Czech Republic Celebrating 30 Years of Existence

Velvet Divorce

Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918, at the end of WWI after the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy collapsed. The Czechs and Slovaks lived together in Czechoslovakia for 74 years with some short breaks. At the stroke of midnight between 31 December 1992 and 1 January 1993, two new independent countries were formed. The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. The peaceful split of Czechoslovakia is known as the Velvet Divorce.

The Scene: Tugendhat

The crucial negotiations that led to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia took place in Brno. Czech and Slovak political representatives met in the garden of Villa Tugendhat to negotiate the terms and conditions of the dissolution. One of the Czech representatives was Václav Klaus, later the President of the Czech Republic. Villa Tugendhat is one of the greatest architectural masterpieces in the world, inscribed by UNESCO. It was designed by the phenomenal German Functionalist Ludwig Miese van der Rohe. It was built in the 1920s and you can see the villa interiors on one of the special tours.

Václav Havel: The Rebirth of the President

The efforts to divide the country were very difficult for the last Czechoslovak President, Václav Havel, elected immediately after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In July 1992, he finally submitted an abdication letter to the hands of the Czechoslovak Parliament seated in today’s New Building of the National Museum in Prague. He returned to Prague Castle a few months later when he became the President of the newly established Czech Republic in January 1993.

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