We’ve lived in Prague as expats for just over six weeks, and we’re thoroughly enjoying the experiences here. Not only do we get to see the Prague Castle every day, usually hovering in the early autumn mist, but we have enjoyed visiting many sites around the Czech Republic as well. Most recently, we visited Kutna Hora, a silver mining village from the early 1100’s whose wealth was so great it funded its own gothic Cathedral of Santa Barbora (see photos). Incredible! The Czech Republic is a beautiful country.
As we get to know more of the Czech Republic, and of Prague, there is one word we are becoming more familiar with: cizinecs (in Czech), or foreigner. Though we can blend in with looks to the Czech people, and we can try to learn their language, we cannot really relate to the past that defines them. Here, it has been twenty years since communism fell. Still, Czech Republic is a place where the individual and freedom and religion had been stripped from societal values for so long, and replaced with “the virtues of the tractor” and other state propaganda, the mark is long-lingering. Komunismo (Communism) billboards still can be seen around Prague, fueled by the nostalgia of the time “when everyone had a job.” The Prague Post runs interesting articles, informing us of the struggling Czech government. And some grey buildings, including a Communist-built major hospital I toured this week, still seek to remind of the drab, colorless days before 1989.
There are many positives for the Czech people. Theirs is a country overflowing with priceless history and natural beauty, a warm and rich culture, and an ingenious entrepreneurial spirit. We can only hope and pray that with coming days and years, the Czech spirit will continue to grow and flourish in freedom, and as cizinecs, that we will continue to learn from the Czech people’s rich soul.