View close to the monument in the area of the place of the tragic death of the Polish airmen Franciszek Żwirko and Stanisław Wigura. This is a sculpture by Julius Pelikán, a Czech sculptor from Olomouc, standing on a high pedestal with coats of arms of Poland and Czechoslovakia. The statue shows a figure of an airman holdind an airscrew and an olive branch - a symbol of peace and reconciliation.
On 28th August 1932 Żwirko and Wigura won the very prestigous FAI International Tourist Plane Competition (in Poland better known as "Challenge 1932", from its French name "Challenge International de Tourisme") in Berlin. After this contest, they were very famous and became national heroes in their country.
Only about two weeks later they were invited to an air meeting to Prague as guests of honor and on the 11th September 1932 they set out for there by their winning machine. Unfortunately, when they were over the Polish-Czechoslovak borderland, a storm broke out. As a result, one wing of their plane broke off and the plane crashed in the forest nearby the village Těrlicko. Nowadays there is a place of memory with a monument, symbolic tombs and a granite commemorative stone.
Every year commemorative ceremonies in honor of the fallen airmen take place in here. In 1994, the Polish House (Dom Polski - Polský Dům) was also founded in Ťerlicko. Its part is an exhibition room dedicated to the history of aviation and the two famous kings of the air from Poland.
The Czech Republic is a cool little landlocked country south of Germany and Poland, with a national addiction to pork and beer. Potatos, cabbage, and dumplings are close behind them, and they also have this great bar food called "utopenec." It means "a drowned man," it's pickled sausage with onions, perfect with some dark wheat bread and beer. The Czech bread is legendary, like a meal all by itself.Czechoslovakia first became a sovereign state in 1918 when it declared independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The state of Czechoslovakia lasted until the "Velvet Divorce" of 1993, which created Slovakia and the Czech Republic.It was occupied by Germany in WWII but escaped major damage, unlike most other European cities. The nation's capital, Prague, retains some of Europe's most beautiful Baroque architecture as well as one of the largest medieval castle complexes still standing. The President of the Czech Republic has his offices in the Prague Castle even today.There was a coup d'etat in 1948 and Czechoslovakia fell under Soviet rule. For fifty years Czechoslovakia was a Socialist state under the USSR, subject to censorship, forced atheism and even the arrest of jazz musicians!In 1989, communist police violently squashed a pro-democracy demonstration and pissed everybody off so bad that a revolution erupted over it, finally ending the Communist rule.The next twenty years saw rapid economic growth and westernization. Today in Prague you can eat at McDonald's or KFC, shop for snowboarding boots and go see a punk rock show.The Czech Republic took over the presidency of the European Union in January 2009. This instantly created lots of political drama because the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, is a renowned Euroskeptic.We anxiously await the outcome of "President Klaus vs. the Lisbon Treaty", a world heavywieght fight sceduled for spring 2009.Text by Steve Smith.