Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Adventure #005 - The Museum of Communism

I had been in Prague for a few days when I noticed the posters adverstising for the Museum of Communism for the first time. A matriochka with an angry face and long teeth. I immediately liked it and decided to go visit this Museum as soon as I could. Learning more about Czechoslovakia and Prague under Communism was something I really wanted to do.

A year and half later, I still hadn't been to the Museum of Communism. So I decided to go there on a Friday afternoon.

Twist of fate, there is a McDonald's in the same building as the museum... I wonder what the communists would have thought about that!

The Museum of Communism is situated in a typical Prague building, i.e. full of surprises. On your a left a McDonald's, on your right a door opening on a hallway with an incredible ceiling decorated by paintings. Inside the Museum, this old dusty smell of buildings with a History.

The Museum is not really big but interesting. I guess that if it had more informations, people wouldn't bother to read and look at things. They already probably don't really bother. I saw a lot of people come and go quickly without looking at any signs ( - which I don't really understand - I'm the kind of person who reads everything and spend hours in a museum, probably why I enjoy going there on my own.)

What will you learn in the Prague Museum of Communism? A bit about Karl Marx, Lenin, Czech History under WWII and the rise of Communism, the everyday life during this period, the riots and important events like the Velvet Revolution and Prague Spring. But between what I learned in school and what I learned living in Prague, the Museum didn't teach me a lot. A little reminder is always good and interesting though. A video was played with images of all the events that took place over the years on Vaclavske Namesti, since it was where the people would always go and demonstrate and it was really touching to see this. Now, Vaclavske Namesti is full of shops and tourists.

My general impression though was that I shouldn't have waited that long to visit it and it would have been more interesting when I had just arrived in Prague, to discover things quicker than I did as Communism really changed the city (like why is there a freeway in the middle of the centre? So that tanks could easily come and stop riots...).

After more than an hour reading about Communism and how the Czech people fought it, it was weird to be back in the 21st century Prague, with giant ads for H&M, tourists, shops and McDonald's. Walking home, I thought about Jan Palach, this young man who set himself on fire in 1969 as an act of protest. What would we do in the same situation? Would we fight the same way or just bend down and crash? And how long would it take us to see that something is wrong and that we lost our rights?

No comments:

Post a Comment