April 28th, 1947, Thor Heyerdahl sat sail with a replica of a primitive balsa-wood raft named Kon-Tiki from Callao, Peru, to cross the Pacific Ocean to the Polynesian Islands. An English reviewer called it “the greatest sea adventure of our time.”
In the Czech Republic, another great adventure had already begun which would cross 5 continents. This epic journey should be called: The greatest land adventure of its time. The two young Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund began their epic journey in Prague on April 22nd, 1947, just six days before the Kon-Tiki voyage. While the Kon-Tiki ended in Polynesia after only 101 days, Hanzelka and Zikmund spent 10 years on the road. Between April 15th and May 31st, you may learn about their epic journeys at a special exhibition in the Kon-Tiki Museum.
The two men published 10 travelogue and made 3 feature documentaries from their travels and became celebrities in Czechoslovakia. After the 1968 uprising, which they had supported, both had difficulties finding jobs until the late 1980s.
Unlike the “great European explorations” in the 16th to 18th centuries that pretended to discover the world, the epic journey across 5 continents focused on experiencing new cultures, meeting people, and tell the story about these societies to the public back home. Jiří Hanzelka and Miroslav Zikmund, through their travels, brought the world to the Czech and Slovak people. Just as Thor Heyerdahl got people interested in human migrations in prehistory.