Czech Crown Jewels are precious symbols of the Czech statehood, and an important part of the national cultural heritage, right after the Prague Castle. The Crown Chamber in the St.Vitus Cathedral, where they are kept, is one of the most carefully guarded places at the Prague Castle. There are seven keys to the chamber and each one of them is kept by a different person.
Seven keys to the Crown Chamber
The people entitled to hold the keys are: the President of the republic, the Prime Minister, the Prague Archbishop, the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, the chairman of the Senate, the Dean of the Metropolitan Chapter of St.Vitus Cathedral and the Mayor of Prague.
The Crown Chamber is accessible only through the door in the corner of the St.Wenceslas Chapel, situated in the St.Vitus Cathedral. Emperor Charles IV. had this chamber built in the 14 th century. He believed, that St.Wenceslas, buried in the chapel, and other saints buried in the cathedral, will safeguard the Crown Jewels.
St. Wenceslas Crown
The most important part of the Czech Crown Jewels is the St. Wenceslas Crown. Charles IV. had it made in 1347. He ordered, that every sovereign has to swear allegiance to the heritage of St. Wenceslas during the coronation. Then he has to return the crown on the skull of St.Wenceslas, where it was placed permanently. It was used just for the coronations. Pope Kliment VI. released a bull, which said, that anyone who would touch the St.Wenceslas Crown without authorization would be interdicted. The first king crowned by it was Charles IV. himself.
The St. Wenceslas Crown is made of pure gold of about 21-22 carat. There are four fleurs-de-lis at the diadem, decorated with precious gemstones such as sapphires, rubies, pearls and spinels. There are 96 gemstones on the crown in total. The national myth says, that anyone who puts the crown on his head without authorization will die soon. This happened for example to the Nazi protector Reinhard Heydrich, who was assassinated by Czech parachutists in 1942.
Royal Sceptre and Royal Apple
The Royal Sceptre and the Royal Apple are also parts of the Czech Crown Jewels. They are with most probability from the first half of the 16 th century. They are made of pure gold too and decorated with the same gemstones. The Royal Apple is also adorned with a relief representing biblical scenes.
Czech Crown Jewels include the Coronation Crucifix from the 14 th century, the Coronation Cloak and other things such as a belt, an ornamental band, a stole and ermine collar.
The Czech Crown Jewels are displayed to the public only exceptionally, on special occasions. Last time it was in 2003, to celebrate the 10 th anniversary of the independent Czech Republic. Only President of the republic can decide that it will be displayed.