The infamous 1989 Velvet Revolution, in Prague, celebrated its 26th anniversary this year and many people travelled to the city join in the events. It’s hard to believe that on 17th November 2015 it was more than a quarter of a century since the clash between students and police on Národní třída. Never has a protest been so marked by its own success, and within six weeks of the original event, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. In 1990 a democratic free election was held, in which a president was elected.
This year, 26 years on, the people of this beautiful city once again gathered to celebrate their freedom and the birth of democracy in their country.
How Does the City Celebrate?
The Velvet Revolution is celebrated every year and visitor numbers are consistently high. During last year’s 25th anniversary, events took place both locally and internationally over the course of 10 days, and were attended by heads of state, as well as Czech-born playwright Tom Stoppard and musician John Cale, of the Velvet Underground.
The Velvet Carnival is always the main event – and definitely the most colourful – bringing many of Prague’s NGOs together to celebrate the cause in a lively and exciting carnival atmosphere. No wreaths are laid and there are no sombre undertones – instead the event exudes a strong sense of positivity. Participants wear masks and enjoy plenty of dancing and singing. Theatre performances, lectures and films are held at the Velvet Centre on Cihelná Street, and all are related to the issues at hand – including human rights and the history of the Velvet Revolution. The main parade begins on the actual anniversary of the revolution, November 17th, and makes its way through the city centre.
Throughout the event, the Václav Havel Memorial Library hosts its Freedom Festival. Although most of the information is in Czech, the emotive photographs of participants, including Pavel Hroch, are easy to interpret. Several other freedom events also took place across the city at this time, making this one of the most significant eras in the history of the country.
If you’re planning to visit Prague at the time of the Velvet Revolution any year, make sure you research what events are scheduled. You may have to book accommodation and flights well in advance (including your Prague airport transfers), as it is one of the most popular times to visit.
How to Get There
Prague is a very well served European city. Visitors may arrive by train, but the most popular option is to fly into the main airport, and then take Prague airport transfers into the city.
Prague airport transfers can be booked with Shuttle Direct to ensure a hassle free, friendly service. You can book in advance and choose between private or shared transfer services, so if you’re looking for a reliable and comfortable ride into Prague city centre, look no further than Shuttle Direct.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct. If you’re looking for Prague airport transfers, Shuttle Direct provide pre-booked shuttles to major destinations all over Europe. Wherever you travel, Shuttle Direct can make sure that you don’t miss your car on your holiday abroad.