A visitor at the Vietnam studies exhibition. (Photo: VNA)

An exhibition on Czech nationals in Vietnam and Vietnamese in the Czech Republic was hosted by the Institute of East Asian Studies of the Charles University in Prague, the Czech Republic on October 1 to bring Vietnam and its history, people and culture closer to the local public.

Among events promoting the 2015 Year of Vietnamese Culture in the Czech Republic, the exhibition was the first of its kind to introduce Vietnamese studies and its development in the Czech Republic over the past 50 years towards strengthening the traditional ties between the two nations.

Director of the institute Olga Lomova hoped the event would raise public awareness of the importance of not only Vietnamese studies, which have been taught in Charles University, but also the Vietnamese community as an integral part of the Czech Republic.

The highlight of the exhibition was a booth displaying poems by several prominent Vietnamese poets, including Nguyen Du, Ho Xuan Huong and Nguyen Binh, translated into Czech.

Ivo Vasiljev, an 80-year-old Czech expert on Vietnamese studies, said he was proud to teach Vietnamese studies in the university since the outset in 1961 while affirming the significance of linguistic and cultural exchanges in tightening bilateral relations.

The Czech Republic is home to at least 30-40 graduates of Vietnamese studies, many of whom have done various research studies on Vietnam’s history and culture and written dozens of articles about Vietnam, Vasiljev added.

He interpreted for President Ho Chi Minh when a Czechoslovakian delegation visited Vietnam in 1966 and was also the first Czech to translate the late leader’s “Nhat ky trong tu” (Prision Diary) into Czech.

The 2015 Year of Vietnamese Culture includes a host of seminars, exhibitions, concerts, film screenings and sport events held throughout the year to celebrate the 65 th anniversary of Vietnam-Czech Republic diplomatic relations.-VNA