October 28 – Foundation of the Independent Czechoslovak State

Posted October 28, 2016

Apparently many cities in the Czech Republic have streets named “October 28th Street” (in the Czech language, of course!).

That's because Czechs had hungered for reforms and rights under the Austrian Empire (later called the Austro-Hungarian Empire). A movement to revive the Czech language and national identity had begun. When the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed at the end of World War I, Czechoslovakia was created on October 28, 1918.

Since then, there have been many changes for the people of Czechoslovakia – being occupied by Germany during WWII, becoming a communist state under Soviet influence during the Cold War, being occupied by Soviet troops after the attempt at reform called the Prague Spring, becoming a republic after the 1989 Velvet Revolution and fall of communism, and peacefully dividing from Slovakia in 1993.

Still, October 28 remains an important historical touchstone – the anniversary of the day when the Czech people were able to realize their goal of becoming an independent, self-governing nation!

(Slovakia does not celebrate October 28.)

I've posted before about the Czech Republic, but here are a few new tidbits:
  • The Czech Republic is divided into two main regions: Bohemia and Moravia. Apparently the identity as Moravians – separate from being “Czechs” – is pretty strong among people who live in the eastern region, and a quarter of all Moravians actually want to split off from the Czech Republic to be their own nation.
Of course, that means that three quarters of all Moravians do NOT want such a split! (This polling info is about four years old, by the way, but I hope it is still current.)
In general, Moravia is a bit more rural than Bohemia. I read that it is very green. Um...yeah!
Even this cave (Punkevni) is pretty darned green!

  • I read that many Czechs and Slovaks did not want Czechoslovakia to split up, and that the peoples of the two nations often refers to each other as “brothers.” Again, there seems to be a disparity in urban/rural, industrial/agricultural – with the Czech Republic being more urban and industrial, with its largest city, Prague, being one of the cultural centers of Europe!
  • Even though most people think that Germany or Wales are the castle capitals of the world, the Guiness Book of World Records stated that, aside from the teeny-tiny principality of Liechtenstein, Czechoslovakia was the most densely “castellated” country in Europe. Of course, that was before Czechoslovakia was devided into two separate countries. Still, we can say that the Czech Republic is up there in having lots of castles, chateaux, and palaces – including ruins of each – per square kilometer.

    Some of the castles / chateaux are being used in a variety of ways, these days (at least one as a home for the elderly, which is very nice), some are tourist destinations, some are ruins, and some are privately owned and closed to visitors. There are so many that it's impossible to buy a castle map and just see them all, but tourists are urged to buy several different castle-tour maps and to make their own discoveries of great spots.

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