Along the Royal Route
“This is the year 1347 and Prague is getting ready for the coronation of the future Bohemian king, Charles IV”,
said Žito as we landed on the ground again. The coronation ceremony, as Žito explained to us, was determined by
Charles IV himself. The ceremony began at Vyšehrad from where the festive procession, lead by the monarch, the
Archbishop of Prague and other prelates, princes and noblemen, went on along the so-called Royal Route. It lead
from the Powder Tower through Celetna Street and across Old Town Square towards Charles Bridge. After crossing
the river, it continued across Lesser Town Square and
up Neruda street, finally reaching Prague Castle.
There were a lot of people
everywhere and streets
were flanked by curious crowds
who wanted to see the new
King. Of course we could
not miss such a sight, so
we blended in with the
The capitular Church of St Peter
and Paul was rebuilt under the order
of Charles IV after 1364. The total
length of the church was 110 m.
The western main gate to Vyšehrad, later
called Špička. This building, almost 30 m
wide, was a kind of gateway fortress with
nine oriel turrets on the gallery.
One day before the coronation, the future
king, accompanied by prelates, left for
Vyšehrad. Here, in the ancient seat of the
Přemyslids, he put on the bast fibre shoes
that Přemysl the Plowman, founder of
the dynasty, used to wear. Over his shoulder
he hung a peasant pouch. With this act, he
expressed his reverence for the Přemyslid
tradition of the Czechs.
Bast fibre shoes
One of the thirteen original gates of the Old Town ramparts, called
Odraná Gate, was located at the beginning of Celetná street where
the Royal Route began. Its importance grew towards the end of the
14th century when a new
royal court (Králův
dvůr) was built in its
Wenceslas IV lived
here from 1383 on.
To the merriment of
Prague’s citizens, bakers
who cheated their
customers were immersed
into the river in wicker
baskets. This peculiar
kind of punishment was
meant to reform these
cunning masters at least
for a while.
The river Vltava was not only
a source of water and fish
but also a busy thoroughfare.
Wood and also building
materials for the construction
of the cathedral were brought
to Prague on water. In 1364,
a prohibition against polluting
the river was issued.
Charles Bridge is an outstanding technical achievement. It rests on 16 semicircular
bridge-arches faced with chiseled sand stone blocks. According to medieval method,
eggs were added to the mortar to make it harder.
The bridge became an important center of city life. Coronation
ceremonies crossed the bridge, and it was also a site where business,
judicial proceedings and tournaments took place.
was built under
Charles IV in 1357 at
the location of the
12th century Judith’s
Bridge, which had
The 27-year old Peter
Parler supervised its
construction. The bridge
was finished at the
beginning of the 15th
century. It is 516 m long
and 10 m wide.
On the morning following
the festive procession,
the Archbishop with prelates
and noblemen entered the King’s
bedchamber and the waking
ceremony began. The future king
was dressed and smoked with incense.
Then he continued in the festive
procession to the church for the
The ceremonial coronation
sword from the time of
Charles IV is also called
St Wenceslas’s Sword.
A cross-shaped opening
in its blade allegedly contained
a relic of St Wenceslas. The
sword is 93,5 cm long and has
been preserved as a part of the
from the 12th
rebuilt after 1370
by Peter Parler
in Gothic style,