At the time of his coronation in 1349, Emperor Charles IV had already decided that Prague would be the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
Charles IV had his royal seat, Prague, reconstructed in the 14th century as a New Jerusalem in Heaven. He had Jerusalem symbology imprinted in the streets of the New Town, church buildings and the symbol of the city itself.
The guide will take you to the places where you can see the Charlesīs influence until now.
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Charles IV had his royal seat , Prague, reconstructed in the 14th century as the image of the New Jerusalem, he had the Jerusalem symbology imprinted in the streets of the New Town, church buildings and the symbol of the city.
Charles IV of Luxembourg (May 14,1316 - November 29, 1378), originally baptised Wenceslas, was the last descendant of the first old Czech dynasty of the Premyslids on his mother Elizabethīs side. His father, Czech king John of Luxembourg, separated him from his mother and, after many years of separation, sent him to France to be raised at the royal court. There he received an excellent education. One of his educators was Pierre Roger, who foretold the young prince an imperial future. The sharp-witted young man responded to this flattery by saying that his educator would first have to become a pope. Both of these prophecies came true. Pierre Roger became Pope Climent VI, and Moravian Margrave and Roman King Charles was elected Roman Emperor by imperial elecetors on July 11, 1346. One month after the death of his father, Charles became the Czech King. During his reign, Bohemia (Czech Rep.) became an oasis of serenity and peace, Prague thrived, and Charles founded Charles University in his royal seat. This is why he is called the Father of the Homeland.His Latin autobiography Vita Caroli became famous.
Peter Parler - the architect, the builder (St. Vitusīs Cathedral,
the Charles Bridge, the New Town, the castle Karlstejn, Prague of the 14th century ...)
Peter Parlerīs exact date and place of birth has not yet been documented. It is generally believed that he was probably born in Cologne, Germany, sometime in 1333.
Peter Parler came from a family of master builder Henry Parler. Members of this large family worked in construction works around all of Europe - in Nurnberg, Vienna, Basil, Ulm, Zegreb and other cities.
Peter (Pierre) means stone, Parler (parler) means to speak in French.
His father Henry Parler was in charge of the construction of the Holy Cross Church in Schwabish Gmund town, and from the year 1336, of the construction of the Minster in Augsburg as well. According to tradition, young Peter received his master builderīs education at his fatherīs works. A twenty-year-old Peter worked on the construction of Virgin maryīs Church in Nurnberg, the Western part of which was founded by Charles IV. Peter also worked on the construction of the cathedral in Cologne, Germany, where he met his first wife, the daughter of stone-mason Hamm. His stay in Strasbourg is more than interesting for us in respect to the circumstainces of the origin of the Prague Horologe.
Another source of information is a memorial stone plate embedded by the canonry in the Southern pillar of the Golden gate of St. Vitusīs Cathedral. Its inscription specifies the consecration of the chancel to Virgin Mary and St. Vitus in the year of 1385, the foundation of the triple-aisle nave in the year of 1392 when rector Vaclav Radec was in charge of the construction and Peter Parler directed the construction works, and the transfer of the remains of St. Adalbert and the Five Saint Brothers from an old church to a new church in the year of 1396. Peter Parler is mentioned twice in weekly construction bills dated from the year of 1373. Peterīs sandstone tomb slab, discovered together with that of Matthias in the year of 1928, says that Peter Parler died on 13July 1399 at the age of sixty-seven.
Peter Parler was commissioned in Prague to continue with the construction of St. Vitusīs Cathedral. The cathedral church at the Prague Castle was founded on 21 Nov. 1344. Its first master builder was Matthias of Arras whom Charles IV had met during one of his frequent visits to Avignon, France. The Prague bishopric was just about to be promoted to archbishopric, and it became necessary to build a representational cathedral for the new ecclesiastical province. Matthias was commissioned to build the cathedral and was in charge of its construction for eight years. He completed the construction of the chancel, eight side chapels, and pillars.
A twenty-three-year-old Peter Parler took on teh construction which, after the death of Matthias in the year of 1352, had been abandoned.
The emperor had no time to immediately look after a new master builder. When travelling through Schwabisch Gmund on the verge of the beautiful summer of 1353, the emperor noticed a new construction of the Holy Cross Church that was beautiful. Therefore, Charles IV stopped there.
When Henry Parler was showing the church to the emperor, the latter became intrigued by the stone-masonīs work of Henryīs son Peter. After having seen the church, Charles IV asked the young man if he would be interested in directing the construction of the in-progress cathedral in Prague, which the emperor probably considered the most important ecclesiastical building in all his empire. The young architect became the head of the construction works, quickly hiring new people.
Prague New Town (14th century town)
The plan of the New Town was inspired by the plan of Jerusalem.
The middle of the 13th century paved the way for spiritual growth and understanding of the world in Christian Europe. Up until then, the Biblical Jerusalem, the importance of which easily surpassed any other place in the world, including Rome - the residence of Christīs terrestrial deputy, the pope - was considered the center of the world.
For almost half of a century, crusade armies controlled the Holy Land and the Euroepan Christian civilization profited very much from the physical and spiritual bond with its birthplace.
In the year of 1244, Christians definitely lost the Holy City. Egyptians conquered Jerusalem and the Holy Grave was destroyed. The spiritual bond was broken off. Christianity had to face this painful loss and find a replacement.
There have been attemps to bring the genia loci of Jerusalem over to Europe for a long time ago. For example, in the 12th and 13th centuries the city of Provins in Champange, France, changed its layout accordingly. At that time, the city was considered the most authentic image of Jerusalem based on the oldest available plan of the Holy City from the middle of the 12th century.
One hundred years after the fall of Jerusalem to Muslims, there weere already one hundred and forty layouts of Jerusalem, the city IN CENTRO MUNDI, in Europe.
And Roman Emperor and Czech King Charles IV of Luxembourg, the most powerful ruler of the Christian world and an educated Catholic convinced of the mission bestowed on him by God, owned at least of these layouts.
His gift - the manuscript DESCRIPTIO TERRAE SANCTAE - to St. Vitusīs canonry in the year of 1349 is proof. And it is this layout of the Holy City that Charles IV decided to materialize in building the Prague New Town, the grandiose plan of which was beyond any comparison throughout the entire world at that time. We can still see a symbolic impression of the pan of Jerusalem in the Southern section of the Prague New Town to this day.
Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King Chares IV created not only a notable centre of Gothic art in Prague, but was instrumental in creating an oasis of free knowledge in the city. Charles introduced the principles of Christian mysticism to his kingdom, which he supported at heart but often contradicted in his decisions as a ruler. His friend and teacher Pope Clement VI issued a bull in 1347, whereby "the foundation of student societies was permitted, and scholars in Prague could found a Theological Faculty". With the issuing of the Studium Generale decree, the emperor founded his own university on the 7th of April, 1348.
High learing attracted new professors immediately, their arrival in Prague brought bold new ideas and impulses, which would be put to the test in the near future. Although professors were formally loyal to the Church and the papal court, they were nonetheless free scholarly men, with international experience and fame.
Aside from university professors, Bohemia withessed other important figures of the day, such as Cola di Rienzo, a spiritual monk with prophetic abilities, who was hunted by the Inquisition and escommunicated by pope Clement VI. Rienzoīs close friend and another giant of his day, was the poet Francesco Petrarca.
Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) came to Prague in 1356 and was welcomed at the Castle as "an honoured guest without equal" .
The emperor greatly admired Petrarcaīs sonnets, and accepted the poet as a diplomat of Milanīs Visconti family, who were in the emperorīs favour. Petrarca had personal reasons for visiting Prague as well, in a period which was experiencing the Pala Scism, Petrarca dreamt of a "renovatio Roame", or rejuvenation of Rome, in its literary, historic, and religious spheres, and hoped Charles IV would prove a mighty ally. All the same, Petrarca did not live to see the return of the Avignon pope to Rome."
"The first lessons at the university were held in monasteries and private homes, while university ceremonies were held at St. Vitus cathedral. The Carolinum, which is the universityīs oldest building was donated by the emperorīs son and heir Wenceslas IV, in 1381."
"The 14th centuryīs "Majestas Carolina", put forward by the emperor himslef, was struck down by the diet of the Czech gentry in 1355, in spite of the fact that it was one of the most humanistic legal charters in the history of European rulers. In charter Charles IV recommended so-called trials by fire and water be banned in Holy Tribunals, since they were "inappropriate for a Christian kingdom". The document also forbid land owners from employing common punisments such as putting out of oneīs eyes, or the cutting-off of the nose. It also forbid games of hazard, including dice games, which would prevent "children from ending-up begging in the burden of shame". Charles IVīs farsightedness even included "ecological" legislation which was meant to protect the forests "so admired by foreigners"..."