Celebration of the 700th anniversary of King Charles IV’s coronation takes over the streets of Prague.
By BOHEMIST STAFF
PRAGUE – It’s not every day a King gets crowned in the Czech Republic. In fact, the last time was more than 100 years ago. But Prague came alive with the court of the famous and infamous King Charles IV as part of the 700th anniversary celebrations of his reign.
“Charles IV would probably be the single most important historical figure for the city,” said Daniela Břízová, a public relations organiser and art history PhD candidate at Charles University.
Břízová and Charles University have been part of a multilateral team that for two years have been researching and preparing for the 700 years celebrations this year.
The program, which has cost a whopping 200 million Koruna, included an Academic itinerary in May, a still on-going exhibition at the National Gallery (it’s most popular in recent history!) and a full re-enactment of the two-day long coronation at Charles IV as King of Bohemia.
Last weekend’s mock coronation featured over 100 actors from servants to knights, bishops and the King and Queen themselves, in historically accurate garb and ran for nearly three hours – living true to the script Charles IV himself wrote for his own coronation.
“Charles IV as he is perceived now, [is an] understanding of Charles more as a cosmopolitan, because he really was one,” Břízová told bohemist ahead of the weekend’s festivities.
“Obviously there is an effort not to emphasise the nationalist parts of his personality but more the cosmopolitan parts. He was born in France and brought up in Luxemburg so he wasn’t a Czech national strictly speaking.”
About 500 people attended the coronation ceremony in St Vitus cathedral, much to the disappointment of the hundreds of tourists refused entry to the private event by armoured swordsmen at the doors of the grand cathedral.
“Prague would not be so architecturally orientated and wouldn’t have had the very well thought out infrastructure it does today,” Břízová said, referring to Charles IV’s ambitious and broad-minded reign of Bohemia. “These structures served very well into the 19th Century, it was only in the industrial revolution that the city expanded. You can still see traces of his plans in the city: It’s incredible.”
The coronation concluded with a ‘royal’ parade into old town square on Sunday afternoon.
* All photos Bohemist.