Ride of the Kings added to UNESCO heritage list
The Czech Republic’s Ride of the Kings – a tradition dating back centuries still practiced in south-eastern Moravia – was added at the weekend to UNESCO’s list recognising intangible cultural heritage. The ride – practiced in just four villages in the Slovácko region – refers to the flight of Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus from Czech King George of Podébrady in the 15th century. Organisers had strived for years to see the tradition recognised and – following UNESCO’s decision – had every reason to celebrate.
Performing the role of the king is considered an honour and the ride itself with its players in traditional dress and horses decorated is a large part of what makes the Slovácko region unique – a festival not found anywhere else. Jan Pijáček is Vlčnov’s mayor:
Locals greeted the news jubilantly that the Ride of the Kings had been recognised with drinks being poured at the town hall and an announcement made over the village speaker system. One local, a key organiser behind the ride, called it the best development for the tradition in the 50 years he has been involved.