Prague, Jan 16 (EFE) – The Czech Republic’s coronation jewels, one of the country’s most valuable treasures, will be on public display for five days starting Monday in Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral.
The tradition of showing the jewels to the public began in 1918, with the proclamation of independence, although they have only been publicly exhibited on 15 occasions since then.
This time, the first in five years, the exhibition commemorates the 30th anniversary of the declaration of the republic, which was split from Czechoslovakia through a peaceful process on January 1, 1993.
The treasure has been kept in the cathedral tower of the Gothic church since the 19th century.
Seven Czech personalities opened the seven locks of the door which leads to the treasure, after reading an act by Pope Clement VI, in which the theft of the jewels is discouraged under penalty of excommunication or expulsion from the country.
The keepers of the keys are the head of state, the mayor of Prague, the prime minister, the archbishop, both Congress presidents, and the provost of the cathedral.
After the cathedral choir sang the St. Wenceslas hymn, the seven key holders signed a document stating that the jewels, which have never been restored, are intact and in good condition.
The most outstanding of the jewels is the crown of St. Wenceslas, forged in the mid-14th century by the order of emperor Charles IV (1346-1378). Legend claims it contains a relic of Christ’s crown of thorns.
There is also a scepter, symbolizing dignity, and an apple, a symbol of Christianity. Both were commissioned by King Ferdinand I of Bohemia (1526-1564), born in Alcalá de Henares, Spain, and brother of Emperor Charles V.
The oldest piece in the collection is the sword of St. Wenceslas, from 924-935, which was used by him, the patron saint of the country. EFE