— In the dark-dark room is hidden a treasure under seven locks. Every five years seven decent men unlock room by their seven keys and for one day the treasure is kept in the spacious hall. When the appointed day is over, the treasure is returned under a heavy oak door for the next five years.
Do not worry, dear readers, I am not crazy because of the winter cold or beriberi. Everything is fine with me. I work, go in for sport and take Borjomi.
But the treasure really exists, as well as the door with seven locks. And the story is true and it happens in the modern Czech Republic. Moreover, it happens in the heart of Prague.
It began in 1346. Once in Prague, there lived a king Charles IV. He was a very enlightened monarch for its time. He imported into the Czech Republic grapes from France and fruit trees from Italy. Also he developed agriculture and began breeding the famous Czech carp. He was the first in Europe to write autobiography. During the rule of Charles IV Bohemia blossomed and a lot of things were built. The city owes him most of its landmarks, the jewel of which is the cathedral of St. Vitus, which is a hallmark of Prague.
If you go to St. Vitus Cathedral and have a little stroll, you will find a chapel dedicated to Holy Prince Wenceslas, an ancestor of Charles IV.
St. Wenceslas is a patron of the Czech Republic. In general, the story of Wenceslas is typical for early medieval period of Europe. Prince Wenceslas became sacred because he christened the Czech Republic, fought with the pagans and eventually, he was murdered by their leader (his own brother).
King Charles IV gave the most important subjects of the medieval Czech state — crown, scepter and orb under «the patronage and protection» of his holy ancestor. Those treasures that were mentioned at the beginning of my post. It is noteworthy that the regalia had never left the Czech Republic, as well as the walls of the cathedral. By order of Charles IV, the crown was made as a ceremonial, so it was used only for coronation ritual. Every ready-crowned king had to put the crown into the room, which was located behind the door, under the symbolic protection of St. Wenceslas on the same day before sunset. That is why it is called St. Wenceslas. The Czech crown belongs to one of the oldest extant in Europe. Only Hungarian crown is older.
Even at a time when the Czech Republic was part of the Holy Roman Empire, and later a part of Austrian-Hungarian Empire, there was no person, who thought to take regalia as trophies or as symbols of power to one of these empires.
Even the Nazis during the Second World War grabbed everything from the occupied territories, did not dare to touch regalia. This is despite the fact that crowning regalia of Charles IV as a piece of art were priceless. For example, crown weighs 2.5 kilos, two kilos of which is gold and 596 grams is gems.
The room, in which the jewels are kept, is locked by seven keys and these keys are distributed among the seven most respected people of the Czech Republic. For example, one key is kept by the president; the second is kept by the prime minister, the third — the Archbishop of Prague, the fourth — the mayor of Prague and so on. The room opens very rarely, and when it happens, all keepers are invited to unlock the door by his key. Can you imagine that? And it happens in the modern European and democratic republic. I do not know any of the republics, in which the «symbol of the tsarist regime» had so much respect.
The royal regalia and ritual with the keys are now no more than a ritual of reinforcing national identity and consciousness of the Czechs. It is a tribute to tradition more ancient than the crows in the British Tower.
Thinking out loud.
Somehow the Czechs forget that Charles IV was the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Austria-Hungary was found as the part of Holy Roman Empire. The Czechs fought for independence. Perhaps I am not very versed in history and geopolitics, but there is something wrong with that, my friends. I should definitely read literature about it.
Although, if you look at a simple level, everything is understandable.
— Where was the capital of Emperor Charles IV located?
— In Prague.
— Where is the crown (do not forget, the second oldest in Europe) stored?
— In Prague.
— What is the capital of Czech Republic?
1000 points in favor of the Czech national pride.
You know, it’s a joke based solely on my thoughts. The true remains a mystery to me. Prague, in which I live, is also a mystery to me, as well as the Czech Republic. The more you know about it, the more puzzles there are.
Truly, the magical city of fairyland.