October 28 will officially mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, and events throughout the country – kicking off with the debut of Prague’s newly-restored Astronomical Clock on September 28 – will celebrate the occasion.
But one organization has been preparing to celebrate for the past two years.
The Czech Ministry of Defence & Armed Forces will officially cap the 100-year celebrations next month on October 28 with a large-scale military parade and air show that’s being touted as the biggest show in Central Europe.
A total of 2,000 people – 1,700 soldiers and 300 members of the Integrated Rescue System (firefighters, police officers, and rescue workers) – will take part in the festivities.
They will operate more than 200 military vehicles, including Gripen fighter jets, Aero L-159 Alca subsonic attack jets, T-72M4CZ modern tanks, and Pandur armored personnel carriers.
The parade & air show will take place on Prague’s lengthy Evropská street, which stretches from Dejvice in Prague 6 towards Václav Havel Airport, on the afternoon of October 28. For one hour during the show, from 14:00 – 15:00, the airspace above Václav Havel Airport will be completely closed for security reasons, affecting local flight traffic.
“It will be the largest show in Central and Eastern Europe,” says Jiří Baloun, First Vice Chief of Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic.
“The only thing we lack compared to the French is the number of horses and the fact that the Evropská street is simply not the Champs-Élysées.”
Czech war veterans and honorary guards from Slovakia, France, the United States, Great Britain and Italy will also take part in the event. The total cost of the military show comes in at 11 million crowns.
Two separate military events will also occur in Prague in the days leading up to the October 28 celebrations.
On October 26, a presentation of modern and historical techniques employed by the Czech military and integrated rescue system will take place in Prague’s Letná Park. On October 27, 900 soldiers and 400 policemen will take part in an oath attended by Czech President Miloš Zeman at Hradčanské náměstí.
October 28 is a national holiday in the Czech Republic celebrating the Foundation of the Independent Czechoslovak State in 1918.