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Lecture: Last Days in Old Europe - Tuesday 28/03/23 at 6.30pm

Bassett cFoCH Small

A talk by Richard Bassett on Tuesday 28th March 2023 at 6.30pm in the Embassy of the Czech Republic, 26-30 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY.

Our lecturer described not only many historical events but also supplied background to the lives of those who influenced the arts, culture and even history in central Europe in the 20th century. He related that in the time of good railway links in Europe after the WW1, the architect Jože Plečnik from Ljubljana (now Slovenia) would board the train there on Tuesday to travel to Prague, where he worked on the restoration of the Castle and other projects. Plečnik went back home on Friday for the weekend, his regular work pattern while designing the gardens of Prague Castle and making numerous interventions in the fabric of the Castle in the 1920s-30s.

Images: above, on the left, our lecturer Richard Bassett, on the right, our Chairman Peter Jamieson. Image © FoCH.

Below: One of Jože Plečnik's interventions in Prague Castle, a staircase in the Third Courtyard. Tomáš Masaryk, the first president of the new Czechoslovak Republic from 1918 onwards, appointed Plečnik chief architect for the 1920 renovation of Prague Castle. © Thomas Ledl from Creative Commons

3rd Ct StairwayPrague Castle Joze Plecnik crJože Plečnik CCRichard Bassett, former Times correspondent in Eastern Europe and author of the widely acclaimed Last Days in Old Europe reflected on more than forty years of association with the Czech lands. First travelling to Prague as an architectural historian, he later spent nearly ten years covering events in communist Czechoslovakia including the Velvet Revolution.  An expert on Central Europe and the author of numerous books, he taught at many European universities and is a Bye-Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge.


© Chosovi from Creative Commons Wikimedia

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