Velvet Revolution Memorial / Památník Sametové revoluce (Národní street - Prague)
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dorcadion Team
N 50° 04.915 E 014° 25.076
33U E 458356 N 5547900
Quick Description: This small bronze plaque with symbolic hands of revolting Czech students is a memorial of one of the most crucial moments in the Czech (and Czechoslovak) history - the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in November 17th, 1989...
Location: Hlavní město Praha, Czechia
Date Posted: 1/22/2011 2:06:33 PM
Waymark Code: WMAJQD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member
Views: 159

Long Description:

The 1989 Velvet Revolution against communism is modestly remembered at the Národní Memorial, Národní street No 16, under the arches of baroque palace, midway between Václavské námestí and the National Theater. This marks the spot where hundreds of protesting college students were seriously beaten by riot police on the brutal, icy night of November 17, 1989.


Year 1989 brought a domino effect of revolutions. Timothy Garton Ash remarked: “In Poland the transition [from communism to democracy] lasted ten years, in Hungary ten months, in Czechoslovakia ten days.” Those ten eventful days fell between November 17th and 27th, 1989. After the failure of the Prague Spring, many Czechoslovaks rightfully held doubts about the possibility of revolution, but as events starting in with Solidarity in Gdansk, Poland and continuing in the other Bloc countries seemed hopeful, the revolution in Czechoslovakia became inevitable.

The Velvet Revolution would not have been possible were it not for the monumental events unfolding in the other Communist Bloc countries. The Estonian Singing Revolution was well on its way in Estonia, not to mention the election of Solidarity members to Poland’s government. On August 23rd, 1989, two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined hands along a 600km stretch of road between Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. Finally, November 9th, 1989 brought the fall of the infamous Berlin Wall. Also, on December 4th the border to Austria was opened, effectively ending the Iron Curtain division of East and West.

On the first day of the revolution, a peaceful student demonstration to commemorate International Students’ Day began in Prague and ended with violence on Narodni Street, when riot police blocked off escape routes and severely beat students. That first domino began an avalanche, as almost every day afterwards until the end of December brought more protests with more and more people participating. By November 20 an estimated half-million of peaceful protesters took to the streets, up from the 200 000 of the day before. A general two-hour strike that involved all citizens of Czechoslovakia was held on November 27th. After that, demonstrations were being held almost daily in Prague’s Wenceles Square as well as in Bratislava.

One of the most important developments was the establishment of the Civic Forum by Vaclav Havel and other prominent members of Charter 77 and other dissident organizations, which would establish much of the post-revolution leadership, including Havel as president. The Forum was a mass popular movement for reforms that called for the dismissal of top officials responsible for the violent attack on the students, an independent investigation of the incident and the release of all political prisoners.

On November 28th the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia sensed its defeat and agreed to give up their monopoly on political power. On December 10th, Communist President Gustav Husak appointed the first largely non-communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948, and resigned. Alexander Dubcek was elected speaker of the federal parliament on December 28 and Vaclav Havel became the first president of a free Czechoslovakia since 1948 on December 29, 1989. With Havel as president, the students ended their strike and the Velvet Revolution ended. Afterwards, the first democratic elections since 1946 were held in June 1990, and brought the first completely non-communist government to Czechoslovakia in over forty years.

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Adress of the monument:
Národní třída 16
Prague 1, Czech Republic
110 00

When was this monument palced?: February 20th 1990

Who placed this monument?: Miroslav Krátký, Otakar Příhoda and Tomáš Urban

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