Roving exhibition remembers Iraq adventure of Zikmund & Hanzelka
An intriguing Czech exhibition is on its way to Iraq in the coming weeks, dedicated to the exploits of the Czech Republic’s most famous explorers. Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund travelled through Iraq in 1960 as part of their voyage to the Middle East and Asia, one of several such adventures in their trademark Tatra car. On Friday Miroslav Zikmund and a delegation of visiting Iraqi politicians visited the exhibition at the Czech Senate.
Mr al-Nujaifi’s spoke of the long history of Czech-Iraqi relations, a history that goes back 80 years to the very foundation of the modern Iraqi state. The exhibition about Zikmund and Hanzelka’s travels through Iraq was organized by Broňa Tomášová, the Czech ambassador to Baghdad:
The exhibition features black and white photographs taken by the pair, showing towns and cities more familiar to us now from news headlines of terrorist bombings or the American military occupation. They’re a fascinating glimpse at a more peaceful Iraq, albeit one still torn by political upheaval; Zikmund and Hanzelka arrived just two years after the military coup that overthrew the Hashemite kingdom. Miroslav Zikmund, now a sprightly 91, has fond memories of the trip half a century ago:
“I remember we could go to any corner of Baghdad at midnight, it was quite safe. The fact that we could go even to the north of Iraq, to Kurdistan, we were probably the first Czechoslovak people to visit Kurdistan, and even the book we published about Kurdistan in English, Russian and German just sold out within a few weeks. And the book was mostly bought by Kurdish people.”