After Hours

New Prague exhibition chronicles fall of Iron Curtain

To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union, Queen Anne’s Summer Palace, located in the royal gardens of Prague Castle, is hosting an exhibition called 1989: The Fall of the Iron Curtain. Almost one hundred photographers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria will show the dramatic story of the end of communism following the key events of 1989 in chronological order and giving a first-hand account of the protests, marches, and movements of the era. The exhibition will run until November 30.

“It is a selection of truly unique moments that often do not need any further words or explanations,” a castle spokesperson commented. “They accurately reflect the unique atmosphere, enthusiasm, hope, determination, and desire for freedom. Outside and inside, there are screens showing the most important events.”

Among the creators of the unique exhibition are the names of leading Czech and Slovak photographers including Jindřich Šreit, Pavel Štecha, Viktor Kolář, Jan Šilpoch, Jaroslav Kučera, Herbert Slavík, Karol Kállay and many others, as well as authors from other countries such as András Bankuti , Péter Korniss, Tamás Szigeti, Cvetan Tomcev, Krzysztof Miller and Chris Niedenthal.

“We contacted dozens of photographers from all over the country and the preparation took exactly one year,” commented photographer Kučera, who came up with the idea of organising such a large exhibition.

“And it was necessary to do it now, on the 30th anniversary, while we still have the power to complete such a big project,” he added, referring to the fact that the exhibition was put together by those people that experienced the Velvet Revolution first hand.

Czech president Miloš Zeman took part on opening day, giving a provocative speech which only praised those who actually experienced the revolution and not those who only pretended to.

“Let us pay tribute to the people who really carried out the November revolution and have pity for people who did not have the courage to join in,” he said.

“The Velvet Revolution is a holiday that symbolises the arrival of freedom and democracy for all, regardless of their political beliefs, world-views, personal history and self-realisation, a holiday that unites, and not divides, us,” added the Slovak foreign affairs minister Miroslav Lajcak.

According to the organisers, the aim of the exhibition is to get new generations closer to those dramatic events, more than history textbooks could ever do.

1989: The Fall of the Iron Curtain runs until November 30 at Prague Castle. More details here.