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1 Jan 2016 - 31 Dec 2016

Father of the Nation - Charles IV. (1316–2016)

Charles IV (1316–1378) is considered to be the most famous and important King of Bohemia. Often called Father of the Nation despite his Luxembourgish origin, he was voted the greatest ever Czech in a poll organized by Czech Television. Under Charles IV‘s rule, Bohemian lands experienced one of the best times in their history. During the four decades of his reign, the Czech kingdom became a prosperous country with a significant international status. Prague became the capital city of the Holy Roman Empire, the cultural capital of central Europe and one of the most thriving European cities at the time. Many landmarks were built under his reign, including St. Vitus Cathedral. In 1348, Prague's New Town (Nové Město) was founded and Charles University was established to become the first university in Central Europe. Charles IV founded many towns and important buildings, including Karlštejn Castle – a place for the safekeeping of royal jewels – and Charles Bridge.

On 14th May 1316, Charles IV was born in Bohemia to John of Luxembourg, King of Bohemia, and Queen Elisabeth of Bohemia. He was taken by his father to France at the age of seven to be educated at the French court. After his stays in France, Luxembourg and north Italy, he came back to Bohemia in 1333 to take over the kingdom. First, he was named Margrave of Moravia in 1334, before being crowned King of the Romans in 1346. In 1355, he was crowned King of Italy and the Holy Roman Emperor was a Czech king for the first time in history. Well-educated, he spoke Latin, Czech, French, German and Italian, and was a skilful politician and diplomat. Thanks to his diplomatic efforts Charles prevented a number of war conflicts in his time, and significantly expanded the Czech kingdom, while he managed to find a compromise between the power of the nobility and the monarch, and to emancipate the Bohemian church by promoting the Prague bishopric to archbishopric. He died on 29th November 1378 at Prague Castle and was buried in the crypt of St Vitus Cathedral.

Statue of Charles IV. near the Charles Bridge
Karlštejn, photo: Libor Sváček
courtesy of Czech Tourism

Interesting facts and curiosities:

- Charles IV had four wives: Blanche of Valois (1316–1348, married 1323), Anna of Bavaria (1329–1353, married 1349), Anna of Schweidnitz (1339 –1362, married 1353) and Elizabeth of Pomerania (c. 1347–1393, married 1363).

- With his four wives he had twelve children altogether (many of them unfortunately died soon after birth or in early childhood). The most famous are:
Wenceslaus (1361–1419), later elected King of Germany (formally King of the Romans) and, on his father's death, became King of Bohemia (as Wenceslaus IV).
Anne of Bohemia
(1366–1394), who was Queen of England as the first wife of King Richard II (1367–1400).

Blanche of Valois
Elizabeth of Pomerania

Read an article about Charles IV in Daily Telegraph:
Prague celebrates the 700th birthday of the greatest-ever Czech
Juliet Rix, 14 May 2016, Daily Telegraph


SERIES OF EVENTS CELEBRATING THE 700TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF THE CZECH KING AND HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR CHARLES IV. organized by The Friends of Czech Heritage, Czech Centre London, Czech Tourism and Embassy of the Czech Republic in London:

Reuniting 14th-century Prague: Charles IV and his Gothic Bridge
10 March 2016, 6.30 pm
Embassy of the Slovak Republic, 25 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY
A lecture by the architectural historian Dr Jana Gajdošová, Affiliated Lecturer at the University of Cambridge, examining the rebuilding of Prague during the reign of Emperor Charles IV. It will focus especially on the role of the new Gothic bridge in the administrative, ceremonial and symbolic life of the city.

Charles Bridge, photo: Libor Sváček, courtesy of Czech Tourism

Charles IV: Architectural Legacy and Modern Urban Environment
7 June 2016, 7pm
St Ethelburgas's, 78 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AG
Prague, the most medieval of European capitals, owes the foundation of its New Town, the largest urban planning project of the medieval period, to king Charles IV, one of the first visionary developers. What were the international influences behind his ingenious spatial concept which prepared Prague for the demands of the 21st century? What is the essence of the sustainable urban space? How can heritage help to deliver regeneration, support enterprise today and involve and benefit communities?
A panel discussion chaired by Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Princes’s Regeneration Trust. With Dave Chetwyn, Managing Director of Urban Vision Enterprise CIC and Chair, Historic Towns Forum; Zoë Opačić, Senior Lecturer in the History and Theory of Architecture, Birkbeck College, University of London; Karel Maier, architect and lecturer at Czech Technical University Prague, a specialist in urban planning and sustainable spatial development.

Prague, from Harmann Schedel's Liber chonicarum 1439; photo: Jiří Kuthan



Emperor Charles IV 1316–2016
Exhibition in National Gallery in Prague
from 15th May 2016 to 25th September 2016

Charles Town

Theatrical tours around Carlsbad, a famous spa town situated in western Bohemia, which was founded by Charles IV in 1370.
From 1th April 2016 to 31th October 2016

Labyrinth for the King Charles IV

Labyrinths and its mystical symbolism were extremely popular in the times of Charles IV. The Castle Loučeň in East Bohemia, which has the biggest labyrinth garden in Europe, is about to open a new labyrinth, dedicated to Charles IV and inspired by the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral, France.
Date of event: 1st May 2016

The Royal Procession 2016
The tenth anniversary year of the royal procession from Radotín to the Karlštejn castle.
Date of event: 4–5th June 2016.

Porta Bohemica, photo: Libor Sváček, courtesy of Czech Tourism






From: 1 Jan 2016
To: 31 Dec 2016


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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