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Celebrating Bratislava's 300-year heyday

THE DENIZENS of Bratislava travelled back to the fall of 1572 last week to witness the crowning of Hungarian Prince Rudolf II. On September 3, the atmosphere in Saint Martin's Cathedral buzzed with anticipation. Soon the heavy doors creaked open and a solemn procession made its way down the church aisles.

MEDIEVAL history buffs watch as Rudolf is crowned king.
photo: Photos by Kevin Frederick

THE DENIZENS of Bratislava travelled back to the fall of 1572 last week to witness the crowning of Hungarian Prince Rudolf II. On September 3, the atmosphere in Saint Martin's Cathedral buzzed with anticipation. Soon the heavy doors creaked open and a solemn procession made its way down the church aisles. First went the royal family in velvet and silk finery, then the nobles and squires, followed by prelates and dozens of bishops. After Rudolf prostrated himself before the altar and the Archbishop summoned the presence of God, the loyal subjects (ticket holders) realized that the production was going to be authentic, if nothing else.

Korunovačné slávnosti, or the Coronation Ceremonies, is one of the biggest cultural productions in Slovakia. An annual event, the festival attracts thousands of tourists as well as Slovaks from around the country.

At this year's event (Sep 2-4), 80 actors and a stable full of horses took residents and visitors back 333 years, when Bratislava was the most important city in Europe. In addition to Rudolf's actual crowning (tickets sold for


Sk1,500 each), the Coronation Ceremonies featured a jousting tournament, several royal processions, a knighting ceremony and a royal feast in Hviezdoslavovo Square.

Next year Bratislava will celebrate its fourth annual Coronation Ceremonies with the re-enactment of the crowning of Matej II, Rudolf's brother. For more information on the event, please contact: Bratislava Tourist Service at Ventúrska 9.





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