The Aviation Museum Korea-Merkur

The Aviation Museum Korea-Merkur

Contact address:

Bezděkov 118
440 01 Žatec
Czech Republic


The Korea-Merkur Aviation Museum in Bezděkov near Žatec was opened on 7th December 2020. The museum's collections focus mainly on the history that unfolded directly at Žatec airport, especially with the 11th Fighter Aviation Regiment (slp), commanded at the time by Major Václav Vašek, now a retired colonel and the current chairman of the Czech Aviation Association.

If you're lucky, he may be one of the guides who will take you on a tour of the museum. The Tiger Squadron was also stationed at Žatec airport, and a large part of the museum's exhibition is devoted to them, including personal items from many of the pilots.

The military airbase near Žatec was built in 1951 on the site of a runway built by the Germans before the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1951, several fighter flights from Milovice were stationed there and the 11th Fighter Aviation Regiment was formed, equipped with Soviet aircraft ranging from the Mig-15 to the most advanced aircraft of the time, the Mig-29. The name Korea Airport was used mainly by the airport staff, as the airbase was built on a "green field" and the construction involved wading through muddy terrain. A member of the regiment remarked at the time that it was a mess like Korea, where the war was going on, and that was synonymous with a mess. The call sign of the airport at that time was the word "Merkur". As a result, the Korea-Merkur Aviation Museum was established to commemorate the airport, which ceased operations in 1993 and was later demolished in 2003.

The museum visitors will certainly enjoy flying in a 3D flight simulator. Equally fascinating is the exhibition dedicated to a famous incident from the 1960s, namely the shooting down of the American spy plane U2, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, over the territory of the former USSR.

Some of the items on display here relating to this world-famous event were donated to the museum's collections in 2022 by Francis Gary Powers Junior, the pilot's son. But there is another exhibit that deserves special mention: a European rarity in the form of a twisted piece of titanium from the crashed YF-12 fighter, the fastest interceptor of its time, which held five world speed records as of 1 May 1965, nly to be surpassed 11 years later.

Visitors to the museum can also see a large collection of aviation-themed paintings, badges, aircraft models and various decorations on loan from the Prague RAF Aviation Club and previously displayed at the DUO Hotel in honour of members of the Czechoslovak Air Force who served in units of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II.

The overall content of the collections is so extensive that a single visit is unlikely to be sufficient and will probably require several visits.

We look forward to your visit!

On behalf of the museum enthusiasts, Roman Hnízdil


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