Vaclav Havel’s bench in Athens honors the protagonist of the Velvet Revolution
The bench of Vaclav Havel, a public work of art, inspired by the personality of the last President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1992) and the first President of the Czech Republic, has been in Athens for a few days now.
This is the international work of the famous Czech architect Borek πέipek, which since 2013 has been installed in 40 cities around the world, including Washington, Dublin, Barcelona, Prague, Lisbon, Milan, Venice and Brussels. With this monument, the Municipality of Athens honors the work of the politician and writer Vaclav Havel, who from 1993 to 2003 was President of the Czech Republic and who in 1989 played a leading role in the Velvet Revolution.
Vaclav Havel’s bench, which consists of a table between a tree trunk and two chairs, was created by the Czech architect with a symbolic purpose: To emphasize the importance of sitting at the same table and talking despite the respective differences. In Athens, it was placed in a symbolic part of the city, in Eleftherias Park.
The unveiling of the project was held in a special ceremony by the Mayor of Athens Costas Bakoyannis, in the presence of the widow of the Czech President Mr. Dagmar Havlova, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Greece Jakub Karfik, the director of the Czech Kheli Ziegler, Executive Chairman of OPAP, who sponsored the project.
In a short but moving speech, Havlova, President of the Dagmar & Vaclav Havel Foundation, expressed her joy at visiting Athens for the inauguration of the project, saying: “My husband” had “a great deal of respect for the international community. and saw relations between the countries as a necessary means. to uphold the values for which he lived and fought. The “Havel bench” was designed precisely to honor his legacy. It invites people to sit down, think, talk while listening to each other, exchange views and look for answers together. ” She added: “I am proud that the city of Athens and the whole of Greece confirm once again their commitment to these values. I hope this place serves its purpose well, so that the citizens of every generation and friends of Athens can find a moment at this point to pause and reflect on the highest goals and values - those that are more resilient to time from individual and human existence. Let me recall Havel’s words: “A personal life without a historical horizon is pure fiction, a deception and ultimately a lie.”