CHARLES IV – Father of the Country
He was a Czech and also a German King, and Roman Emperor. This year the Czechs will commemorated his 695th birthday.
He was one of our most important and most beloved kings. His parents were king Jan of Lucemburk and Eliska of the Premyslid dynasty. He was educated in France, mostly in military science and diplomatic skills. In addition to Latin, he knew French, German and Italian. Living among strangers away from home and family taught him to be independent, hard-working and serious in pursuing his studies. His father called him back to the Czech lands in 1333 and he took care of the kingdom in his father’s absence. He found much devastation and decided to improve and rebuilt the castles and churches that needed repair. In the year 1344 he succeeded in establishing the archbishopric in Prague and started to build the largest cathedral.
He had great ability to pick the right people for various functions and occupations. His choice of Arnost of Pardubice as archbishop was very wise, and so was his choice of Matyas of Arras and Peter Parler as the master architects. Under the leadership of Charles IV. Prague became a big and beautiful city. He built a whole new quarter of Prague – the New Town. After the death of his father he became king and his glorious coronation took place in September of 1347. A year later he founded the Prague university- the first such institution in middle Europe. Soon thereafter he lost his first wife Blanka. His second wife Anna was a German princess. His second coronation ( as a German king) followed. All the coronation jewels were then safely stored in his castle outside of Prague named Karlstejn. After the death if his second wife Anna Charles IV. had to get married for the third time. His third wife Anna Svidnicka became the mother of his first heir in 1361- a son who was named Vaclav. Unfortunately also this Queen had a short life and the king had to marry for the fourth time, this time the bride was Eliska Pomoranska who gave him several children.
He was crowned in Rome as Roman Emperor in 1355. This distinction brought much respect and many advantages to the Czech lands. He supported the arts and artists and built a monastery called Emauzy in Prague. He also saw to it that other towns besides Prague would be rebuilt and renovated. And he paid attention to business and industry. He brought French grape wine to the Czech lands and built large wineries near Prague and elsewhere.
He lived to be 62 years of age, which was considered a long life in the 14th century, He died of a lung infection on November 20, 1378 and he is buried in the St. Vitus cathedral.
He devoted his life and skills to improve the conditions of the Czech lands more than many other rulers and thus earned the title” Father of the country.”Jana Volfova
Abbreviated by Marie Dolanska
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