Museum Of Communism Prague
Museums in Prague
Not long after Churchill delivered his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech in 1946, the red tide of Communism crept in and solidified its position in Czechoslovakia. For Eastern Europe it was a difficult pill to swallow. The Red Army had been seen the liberators of Nazi oppression when they entered many of the towns and cities of Eastern Europe and so when Soviet rule continued after the end of the Second World War, occupation, rather than liberation once again becoming a reality.
The museum itself is tucked away on Na Prikope Street 10 near MUSTEK metro stop (line A and B), if you blink you may miss it. However once you find the museum you can be sure to enjoy your visit. After paying your admission fee (190Kc – Adults or 150Kc - with any Student card) you are immediately surrounded by all kinds of Soviet items ranging from Propaganda posters to small motorized pushbikes, some of which do not have any descriptions with them but are relatively self-explanatory.
The first information boards set the scene for Communism arrival in Prague by describing the Nazi occupation during the Second World War and how this in turn led to Soviet occupation and rule. They go on to explain how the Soviets managed to gain the political edge and finally incorporate Czechoslovakia into the Soviet Union. There are some impressive sculptures and statues of the most well-known Bolsheviks and Communists following this information including; Karl Marx, Lenin and Stalin, they are clear reminders of how the Communist state operated by filling ever day life with constant reminders of who was in control.
Further into the museum there are vast collections of Soviet equipment such as relics from heavy industry – something which the Soviet Union was well known for – all the way to some of the most advanced military equipment of the 1950’ and 60’s. The informational displays describe the fierce struggle between the USA and the USSR with regards to the space race and nuclear weapon development. The equipment on display relates closely to the areas visitors read about, this means the displays and the information provided link up well so as not to confuse visitors.
The next section of the museum is split up into specific areas including; censorship, sport, education, daily life, industry, the army and the peoples militia. Each of these sections has its own unique displays including items that are considered rare today. Included in this sections is an interrogation room set up as if it was still a fully functioning wing of the Soviet government in Czechoslovakia.
Finally there is a section dedicated to the student movement which gained support from the rest of the population of Czechoslovakia to help bring about the fall of Communism. This section includes a moving short film showing the heavy handedness of government forces on the public in an attempt break up protesters. The film talks about several clashes across a period of a couple of years and links closely to the displays immediately after the film in the projection room. The film runs on an 8-10 minute loop so if you miss it hang on for the next loop as it is really worth watching. The museum comes to a close with a display on the Berlin wall and its eventual fall, by exiting through the ‘hole in the wall’ it creates the symbolic feeling that you have managed to escape the oppressive Communist state.
The Museum of Communism highlights an important period in Czechoslovakian history which is still relevant today in the Czech Republic. It helps you to understand the pride that people took – and still take - in their national identity. The oppressive role of Communism only helped fuel the fierce national pride which can still be felt today in all aspects of Czech life. This is something which I feel the museum captures incredibly well as the displays gradually evolve from being generic pieces on the Soviet Union into Czechoslovakia’s personal struggle to rid itself of Communism.
Visiting Hours, Prices and Location.
Location: Na Příkope 10, Prague 1, MUSTEK Metro Station (line A and B) above McDonald's
Website Link: www.muzeumkomunismu.cz
Opening Hours: 9am till 9pm (Including holidays)
Admission: 190Kc – Adult (£5.35) 150Kc – Student: Valid with any student card. (£4.22)
Museum of Communism Prague on Prague.TV - Living Like a Local!
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