Emil Holub: Intrepid Czech traveller who pioneered Africa exploration

Photo: Petr Voldán, Czech Radio

Emil Holub, perhaps the best-known Czech explorer, was born in the Pardubice Region in 1847. His birthplace of Holice boasts the only museum in Czechia dedicated to Holub, who made vast contributions to public understanding of Africa in the latter half of the 19th century.

Emil Holub is to the Czechs what David Livingstone was to the British. He was born in the small town of Holice in the Pardubice Region and like Livingstone, he studied medicine and travelled to Africa to explore its previously unexplored regions. A museum dedicated to his life and career, called the African Museum of Doctor Emil Holub, was built in his hometown. Jitka Koudelková is in charge of it:

“Emil Holub was born here in October 1847 to the family of a local doctor, František Holub. The Holub family lived in the town for 10 years and little Emil attended the local school. He was a very friendly boy and a good student.

“Even though the Holub family eventually moved away, he put down such deep roots here that the people of Holice supported his trip to Africa. They didn’t support him just financially, they also provided him with good shoes, because this was a shoemaking village.

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Authors: Vít Pohanka, Ruth Fraňková