The SametOVA!!! was a joint event and in the Czech Republic quite a unique project of the Statutory City of Ostrava, Ostrava's cultural and educational institutions, which wanted to celebrate the 30th anniversary of November 1989 in a meaningful way. The project received the patronage of the Governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region, prof. Ing. Ivo Vondrák, CSc., and the Mayor of Ostrava Ing. Tomáš Macura, MBA.

As part of the event Sametova!!!, our secondary grammar school prepared a rich educational and experiential program for the schools of the MS region on 15 November, 2019, which also reminded the pupils of primary and secondary schools of the specifics of the fall of the communist regime in the region and the shape of 30 years of freedom. The project day was attended by more than 2,000 pupils from 20 schools of the MS Region, who could choose from talks with commemorators, workshops, film screenings, as well as taking a ride in a retro bus and participating in the Human Chain happening, which (like their predecessors in November, 1989) encircled the city centre.

During the program, students could discuss with Karel Oliva (former director of the Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) the changes in our mother tongue before and after 1989, hear information about the current form of totalitarianism in the DPRK from Koreanist Nina Špitálníková, or learn about how our everyday life has changed from the perspective of sociologist Jiří Siostrzonek from the Silesian University in Opava. Ivo Kaleta, Petr Hruška, Jan Král, Ladislav Vrchovský and Ivan Binar were among the speakers. However, the discussion also focused on the EU project and the political present, and the guests were Dana Kovaříková and Jaroslav Miller from the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic.

Part of the educational experience project was also a ride in three retro busses, loaned by the DPO. The special lines were fully booked by the pupils and eventually 2,000 participants of the celebrations rode them through the centre of Ostrava. During the ride, historical interpretation was carried out by students of the Pavel Tigrid Language School, who explained to the passengers the specifics of November, 1989 in the region.

In the morning, all participants in the programme joined hands to embrace the centre of Ostrava together in a human chain, thus expressing, as in November 1989, the desire for a world in which people hold hands as equals. Peace and order, as it was imagined by the high officials of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia during the normalization period, was ensured by the members of the Public Security and volunteer members of the People's Militia! Period vehicles were also placed along the route, which very appropriately illustrated the atmosphere of the time.

The programme for schools culminated in a tent on Masaryk Square. During the day, everyone could refresh themselves in the retro café Atlantik with an original fried egg sandwich, warm PIGI tea, banana or oranges. However, you had to queue for everything...

The project was also joined by other entities, in particular the Olgy Havlová Gymnasium, Fiducia Antiques and Club, Educa24 agency, Cinerite, University of Ostrava, National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, Secondary Art School in Ostrava, LES Club, Stará aréna, Moravská Ostrava Centre for Culture and Education, VŠB-TU, Ostrava Museum, PANT Centre and Ostrava City Archives.

The whole event was a great success. Favorable feedback came from the participating schools, teachers, individual students and the public.

Just a few examples:

Everyone involved knew what to do :-)

Everything was well organized. :)

When we arrived at the retro bus stop, we found that our departure time had been moved without us knowing. But that can happen at such a big event...

Satisfaction - for such a large number of participants the event was perfectly prepared.

Everything went well, the program was varied and adequate to the age of the pupils.

We were satisfied, the activities were suitable for the pupils of our primary school.

The exhibition about education at the New Town Hall could have a guide or at least an usher to introduce the exhibition. Otherwise great work, I really enjoyed it and think it served its purpose - promoting democratic thinking. The students liked it too. Thanks so much for this event!!!

Everything was interesting and beneficial. The organisation was excellent considering the scale of the event.

Special thanks were also sent by the Mayor of Ostrava Mr. Tomáš Macura:

Dear ladies and gentlemen, friends,

A few days ago we successfully completed our joint project SametOVA!!! I would like to thank you on behalf of myself, my co-workers and the entire administration of the city of Ostrava for the incredible amount of work you have done on this unique project.

Thanks to your work, creative ideas and energy, Ostrava has once again proved that it is an exceptional city in many ways. Together we managed to put together a several-month programme, culminating in a four-day programme on Masaryk Square. Our uniqueness lay in our ability to unite and participate in a joint project involving forty organisations and hundreds of organisers and performers. This made our joint project quite extraordinary and made it truly what it was meant to be from the very beginning, a celebration of freedom, human dignity and democracy.

For me, as Mayor of Ostrava, it was a great experience to see the togetherness, the fireworks of ideas and the incredible energy that you all radiated.

Thank you once again and I express my admiration for you. I wish that this strength will remain with us for years to come, because I believe that SametOVA!!! was not the last project we worked on together.

Yours sincerely

Tomáš Macura

Czech Television and Czech Radio reported about our school in connection with the project, the MSK home page listed the project among the most important events (OUR ACTIONS column), SMO set up a separate branch of its website to promote the project (www.ostrava30. cz ), information about partial activities (especially about the human chain) was provided by all major media (ČTK, NOVA and PRIMA television in news inputs, Czech Television in the programme TÝDEN V REGIONECH - separate input / interview, Deník - article on the website + video footage of the human chain).

But we did not want to create just a programme of one, albeit very organizationally demanding, day. Our gymnasium decided to connect all the events held under the banner of VelvetOVA!!! with the great search event The Cipher of Pavel Tigrid. The goal was simple: to compose a sentence of sixteen words that originally glossed our patron's participation in the fall of the previous regime. But it wouldn't be Paul the Beast if he made it easy. The players discovered the words to the sentence based on clues they found in various places (trams, the surroundings of Ostrava) or obtained at events associated with the anniversary (openings, talks, performances, etc.). Successful solvers were rewarded with tickets to the Arena Chamber Theatre, a free ticket from the DPO and gifts donated by the University of Ostrava, at the festive culmination of the celebrations, on 15 November, 2019.


The following partners have supported the project with their patronage:

  • Mayor of Ostrava Ing. Tomáš Macura, MBA
  • Governor of the MS Region prof. Ing. Ivo Vondrák, CSc.
  • The media partnership was provided by Czech Television
  • The participation of schools was supported by the Deputy Governor of MSK Mgr. Stanislav Folwarczny