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July 2007

Bavaria Meets Bohemia

Bavaria and Bohemia have enjoyed more than 1500 years of neighborship. Architectural digs have shown, however, that the boundaries between the two cultures were never quite as clear as they are today. A fascinating new exhibit in Zwiesel explores this shared history through art, documents, photographs, and archaeological finds. Early Christians in each area shared patron saints such as John Nepomuk, and Baroque churches were decorated with Bavarian goldwork and Bohemian glass. In the 19th century, Czech artists painted Bavarian landscapes while Bavarians discovered the cultural dynamism of “Golden Prague.” The history of these two cultures, however, is hardly one of peaceful artistic exchange. When the Czech state was founded in 1918, Sudeten Germans tried to secede and join the newly-formed German Austria. Twenty years later, the Munich Agreement put them under German control, for better or for worse. The legacy of the Nazi occupation resulted in the expulsion of 3 million Czech Germans after the war, and many came to Bavaria. Since then, Bavarians and Bohemians have been carefully reconciling their contentious past with their cultural links. The exhibit ends with an exploration of what shape that future could take. “Bavaria and Bohemia: 1500 Years of Neighborship” will run at the House of Bavarian History on Kirchplatz 3, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm daily. Entry costs € 6. For more information and directions, see Zwiesel is located just under three hours from Munich by train, and covered by the Bayern Ticket.

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