Exhibition celebrates history of Czech, Cambodian relations

PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/ANN) - Currently hanging on the walls of the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh are rare black and white photographs of Cambodian royalty with Czech leaders, depicting the history of elations between the two countries.

Currently hanging on the walls of the National Museum of Cambodia in
Phnom Penh are rare black and white photographs of Cambodian royalty
with Czech leaders, depicting the history of relations between the two

One of the photos, taken in January 1963, shows then Prince Norodom
Sihanouk with Cambodian Royal Ballet performers in honour of the visit
of Czechoslovakian President Antonin Novotny to Cambodia.

His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni is fluent in Czech having
spent most of his childhood in Prague where he studied classical dance
and music at the Academy of Performing Arts.

Another interesting photo that illustrates the cultural relationship
between the Czech Republic and Cambodia depicts President Novotny
congratulating Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, daughter of then Prince
Norodom Sihanouk, for her leading role in a Royal Ballet performance.

The photos are part of exhibit Czech Republic & Kingdom of Cambodia – Ties in Time,
which opened on Thursday in a ceremony presided over by Minister of
Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona and Charge d´Affaires of the
Czech Republic to the Kingdom of Cambodia Vlastimil Tesar.

“The exhibition focuses on relations and cooperation between our
countries. Its purpose is not only to display precious memorabilia from
the 1960s and 1980s between Cambodia and Czechoslovakia but also to
revive the memory of the past verities to the next generations,” said

Tesar said the Czech Republic has maintained ties with Cambodia for 63 years.

“We focused on selecting certain interesting fragments related to
political, economic and cultural events which have significantly
influenced bilateral ties between our countries.

“The offered collection of photographs and facsimile, which you will
be able to see, comes mainly from the collections of the archives of the
Office of the Czech President, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs
and the Czech News Agency database,” he said.

Besides the black and white photographs, among the 36 frames featured
in the exhibition are snapshots of Phnom Penh, photos of the past and
recent events, as well as facsimile and original documents that enables
visitors to catch a glimpse of the history of relations between the

“Part of the exhibition is devoted to a concrete example of
cooperation between experts of both countries in the period shortly
after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.

“The living Czech participant of this cooperation in the forestry
industry kindly provided for this occasion a set of original documents
and his photographs, which illustrate Cambodia at that time,” said

“An exhibition like this can look back into the past. However, the
past is just a springboard for a common future that we want to focus on.
And we, Czechs, who live and work in Cambodia, we know well that
Cambodia is a country of friendly people.”

Sackona also highlighted cultural relations and cooperation evident
between the two countries between the 1960s and the 1980s, as well as
between the 2000s and the 2010s.

“During this period, the Czech Republic took part in the restoration
and preservation of Cambodian cultural heritage at Angkor through the
provision of training on preservation techniques to technical personnel
of the Apsara National Authority. They also helped with the restoration
project of lion and elephant statues at Phimeanakas temple.

“Also, the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts used to
collaborate with Czech partners to organise exhibitions and to produce
films in Cambodia,” she added.

The Czech Republic & Kingdom of Cambodia – Ties in Time exhibition is being held at National Museum of Cambodia on Street 13 (Preah Ang Eng) in Phnom Penh.

The exhibition is open to the public until October 31.