Postal history

The past of the post office reflects all the twists and turns of the history that took place in this country. Letters found their addressees in good as well harsher times, thus helping people share their uneasy fate. The post office guaranteed that their life stories would find the right readers.

History of the Czech postal service

The beginning of an organised and state-controlled transmission of messages in the Czech lands dates back to 1526 when Archduke Ferdinand was elected King of Bohemia. Ferdinand ordered the establishment of a first postal route between Prague and Vienna. Routes with stations for exchange of courier horses started to connect political and trade centres. In 1743, at the very beginning of her rule, Maria Theresa had a state postal monopoly created, covering the transport of both mail and passengers. The condition of road building and the range of available service gradually improved. In the early 19th century, Europe was hit by the Industrial Revolution. It boosted the speed of everything, including mail and passenger transportation. Technical inventions played the essential role. Telephone, invented in the second stage of the Industrial Revolution, became one of the major contributions. The era culminated in the invention of wireless transmission of messages, or radiotelegraphy.

The creation of an independent state in 1918 brought about changes in the system of organisation and control of postal operations. The government set up a ministry of post and telegraph offices. The Czechoslovak Post was established in the early 1925 as a state-owned enterprise. During the Nazi occupation, the Post was fully dependent on the German post office ministry and the protectorate administration. After the communist regime came to power, the Czechoslovak Post became a ‘national enterprise'. Postal service was gradually moved aside and replaced by tele- and radiocommunications as a propaganda tool. The post-1989 changes led to the division of postal and telecommunication services. When the Czech Republic became an independent state on 1 January 1993, the Czech Post was established as a state-owned enterprise with independent financing. This allowed the Post to further develop the tradition of the interwar state-owned enterprise Czechoslovak Post and to prove the sense of its existence in the conditions of market economy.

History of exhibitions

The Postal Museum held its first short-time exhibition as early as 1936. A breakthrough series of short-time exhibitions came in the early 1990s. Exhibitions on graphic and stamp design included works by many Czech and Slovak graphic artists and engravers, such as Adolf Born, Cyril Bouda, Oldřich Kulhánek, Karel Franta. Exhibitions on postal history, e.g. Mail service in the ghetto Terezín, Post in the Rudolfinian era, also attracted large numbers of visitors. Exhibitions on foreign stamp design, held in cooperation with partner postal museums in Slovakia, France and Finland, were similarly attractive.