Tuesday, 18 June 2019

National Theatre in Prague celebrating 150th anniversary

14 May 2018

Prague, May 12 (CTK) - The National Theatre (ND) in Prague celebrated the 150th anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone with a performance by ND actors who re-enacted the historical events on Saturday.

This was followed by the greeting of the representatives of the municipalities from where 20 ND foundation stones originated.

The event included a show of the theatre facade, a performance of folklore groups and the teaching of the old Bohemian polka dance by ballet soloists.

The theatre fans could also see the underground of the NG building and visit the exhibition of the gifts the ND has received throughout its existence.

Culture Minister Ilja Smid (ANO) wished the institution it keeps giving joy and wonderful performances to the people.

"This nation does not have many certain things, we keep questioning lots of things," Smid said.

"However, there is something that cannot be questioned. It is the fact that the ND belongs to all of us. It is a symbol of not only art, but also of the statehood in general," he added.

The laying of the foundation stone for the building of the NG in 1868 became one of the biggest events of the Czech national revival in the 19th century. At that time, it lasted three days and was visited by the estimated 150,000 people.

The most important moment came on May 16, when the granite block from Lounovice, central Bohemia, was tipped by a gilded hammer by "the father of the nation" Frantisek Palacky, prominent Czech politician Ladislav Rieger, actor Josef Jiri Kolar and composer Bedrich Smetana, whose opera Dalibor was premiered on the day.

Stones from other important sites in Bohemia and Moravia were also laid in the foundations of the building.

The National Theatre was opened in 1881. However, after it, it burnt down in a fire. It was reopened in 1883. Thousands of donors contributed to the construction of the building.

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