The gate open to the Bohemian crown jewels
Thousands of people waited for hours on Thursday to catch a glimpse of the medieval Bohemian crown jewels. The opening of the Crown Chamber was quite a ritual in itself, as it required the presence of the holders of no less than seven keys - the President of the state, and the highest political and the Church authorities. Mirna Solic reports:
"It's always connected with a national day, some centenary or celebration. This time it's ten years since the foundation of the Czech Republic, it's also 85 years since the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic, and we have a new president. So I think those events were inspiration for the decision of the president to make access to the coronation jewels to the public."
"The biggest headstone was for a quite a long time meant to be one of the biggest rubies, and nowadays we know it's rubellite or tourmaline. That doesn't mean that the evaluation of the stone is lesser than originally, because this is one of the first use of the stone as a jewel, and one of the biggest stones used as a jewel. So, the crown didn't lose its high evaluation, because the technique was much more elaborate, complicated and precise."
The jewels were meant to be used only for the coronation of Bohemian kings, and legends predict a tragic fate everybody else who attempts to use them for any other purpose. According to one widely spread legend, Reinhard Heydrich died only one year after he became the head of the Nazi-occupied Czech Lands during the Second World War, because he tried to put the crown on his head. Eliska Fucikova:
"During the Second World War Protector Heydrich visited the crown's jewels. It was said that he put the crown on his head, and shortly after he was assassinated in the car when passing from his flat to the castle. This was never mentioned in relation with visiting the jewels, so I think it was more contemporary legend connected with his death. People thought it was punishment because he really touched Bohemian crown jewels."
The exhibition can be seen every day from 9-17 until July 13th. The entrance is free.