The Czech Republic is celebrating the 700th anniversary of the birth of Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, whom Czechs perceive as the “father of the Czech nation” and the greatest Czech that ever lived. The anniversary is being marked by a wide range of events including exhibitions, conferences, themed tours and street parties which will peak on the anniversary proper, Saturday May 14. I asked Kateřina Pavlitova of Prague City Tourism about the highlights of the celebration.
“Well, one of the main centres of Charles IV anniversary events is Prague Castle, which in itself has seven different exhibitions, the most important of which is the exhibition of the Czech crown jewels which can be seen from the 15th to 29th of May. It is a truly exceptional opportunity to admire the crown jewels which are usually only exhibited for a single day on important state occasions. Another institution that is heavily involved in the celebrations is the National Gallery which has organized a massive exhibition on the life of Charles IV at the Wallenstein Riding School. Another exhibition that I think is super interesting, but a bit different from the ones I have mentioned so far, is at the National Technical Museum. It focusses on the construction boom that Charles IV initiated, on the technology of the day and how things were built, because even from today’s perspective if you look at what Charles IV managed to build in Prague some of these structures are truly technically impressive, so I think this exhibition will be interesting even for people who are not huge fans of history but are more technically minded.”
And what is Prague City Tourism Offering this weekend?
“We are offering a special series of Charles-themed guided walks that are free of charge. They start from the Old Town Hall. The first is at 11 am and there are additional walks at 1am, 2pm and 3pm both on Saturday and Sunday. So I would recommend that people book in advance because these are sure to be very popular. At 2pm it’s a guided walk through the Old Town and that is the only one that is in English and the one at 3pm centres on the New Town of Prague which was a special project of Charles’.”
“Indeed most of the exhibitions will run through the summer into the autumn and there will be a particularly interesting event on September 3rd – a re-enactment of the coronation of Charles IV and his first wife Blanche of Valois –so I would say that will be a truly impressive event well worth attending.”
Prague City Tourism has a special web page on Charles IV events at www.karlovapraha.cz
Czech Radio is throwing a big birthday party for Charles IV at Letná on Saturday between 4pm and midnight.
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