Thursday, 20 April 2017

Czech Esperanto Museum to mark the language creator's centenary

ČTK |
13 April 2017

Svitavy, East Bohemia, April 12 (CTK) - The Museum of Esperanto in Svitavy, which is the only of its kind in the Czech Republic, is planning a new exhibition marking the 100th death anniversary of the constructed language's creator Ludwig Lazar Zamenhof, Pavla Dvorakova, from the museum, has told CTK.

UNESCO has declared 2017 the year of Zamenhof, a Polish-Jewish doctor (1859-1917) who first published the constructed language's rules 130 years ago in 1887.

The Czech exhibition will also mark the 60th death anniversary of Frantisek Lorenc, the author of the first Esperanto textbook for Czechs, Dvorakova said.

She said the Czech Esperanto Association (CES) has about 800 members and the number of Esperanto fans in the country is estimated at about twice as many in the country with a population of 10.5 million.

The museum organises international events every year. In 2016, it staged an event of the Universal Esperanto Association preceding its first world congress in Slovakia, Dvorakova said.

"Esperanto experts from four continents met in our museum," she said.

The museum, initiated by the CES, was established in 2008 with financial support from the Svitavy Town Hall and the Culture Ministry.

Its exhibits include valuable books issued in the Esperanto language in the Czech Republic and abroad. The museum also gathers all available Esperanto literature. Its library offers 17,000 books and magazines as well as reading and research premises equipped with an e-dictionary.

The nearest similar museums are in Poland and Austria.

Dvorakova said foreigners prevail over Czechs among the visitors to the Svitavy museum.

CES chairwoman Libuse Hyblova said Esperanto has survived as a language promoting equality in international communication.

Since the beginning of 2017, Esperanto has been among the 20 languages in which church services are regularly celebrated in Prague, Hyblova said, adding that the Czech Esperanto fans included Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who died last month.

The number of world Esperanto speakers is estimated at two million.

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