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Exhibition at Prague Castle presents state symbols

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Prague, May 9 (CTK) – The Touches of Statehood exhibition that shows the state symbols has opened in the Riding School of Prague Castle, the seat of kings and presidents, within the events marking the centenary of Czechoslovakia’s birth.

It presents about 1000 items, including those that were never displayed before, such as a border marker from a crossing in south Moravia from the 1920s which the Military History Institute (VHU) gained only a year ago.

The particular exhibition sections focus on various state symbols and their changes in time, including the Czech (Czechoslovak) flag, state anthem and the developments of the country’s coat of arms.

Though the exhibition is inspired by the establishment of Czechoslovakia in 1918, some exhibits are much older. The double-tailed lion, the land’s symbol, from St Vitus Cathedral at the Castle dates back to the 14 century and another one from Zvikov Castle, south Bohemia, is from the 13th century, exhibition author Michal Burian said.

Visitors can also learn the stories connected with the state symbols, for instance, about changes of the Czech flag appearance.

One of the most valuable exhibits is the flag with which Czech athletes participated in the opening ceremony of the Stockholm Olympics in 1912, when the country was not independent yet, Burian said.

“We were naturally not an independent state represented in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) then, but because Jiri Stanislav Guth-Jarkovsky (Czech sport promoter and IOC general secretary in 1919-1923) was a good friend of (IOC founder and President) Pierre de Coubertin, we were allowed to line up under an independent flag,” Burian said.

One of the unique exhibits is the gun-carriage from the 1920s that was used to carry the coffin during the funerals of the first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1918-35) and the first post-communist Czechoslovak and Czech head of state Vaclav Havel (1989-2003).

The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday and it will run till the end of October. Some parts will be changed each month.

Along with the Military History Institute, other institutions, such as the Presidential Office, the National Museum and the Postal Museum, participated in its preparation.

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