Each late June, Bratislava recalls its famous coronation past. This year it will witness the re-enactment of the coronation of Leopold II, the younger son of Maria Theresa. He was crowned in then Pressburg, today’s Bratislava, on November 15, 1790.
“It is important to recall the past because without the past there is no future,” historian Vladimír Tomčík told The Slovak Spectator. “When the town of Pressburg became a coronation city, it was included among such important cities like Reims, London, Prague and Vienna.”
Pressburg became the coronation city of Kingdom of Hungary after the traditional coronation town, Székesfehérvár, fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire after the Battle of Mohács in 1526. The first coronation in Pressburg took place in 1563 when Maximilian Habsburg was crowned.
A total of eleven kings and seven queens were crowned in Pressburg. Maria Theresa, as the only woman, was crowned not as a royal spouse – by touching the crown on her shoulder – but as a full sovereign by putting the crown on her head.
Tomčík considers Maria Theresa and Sigismund of Luxembourg to be the rulers, who out of those crowned in Pressburg, did the most for this city.
“Maria Theresa permitted the razing of the city’s fortification walls and with this enabled the city to grow and develop,” said Tomčík.
He recalled that Maria Theresa appointed the husband of her beloved daughter Maria Christine, Prince Albert of Saxony, as the royal governor of Hungary with a seat in Pressburg. Already at that time he began to collect old master prints and drawings, his collection later developing into the famous Albertina in Vienna, one of the largest and finest collections of artwork in the world.The interior of St Martin’s Dome looks differently than during coronations Read more
The last coronation took place in 1830 and then they were moved to Buda.
Since Slovakia has two beauty contests and two car shows, there will be two events in Bratislava recalling its coronation history. The reason is the dispute between the Bratislava city council and Miroslav Vetrík, a long-time organiser of the traditional coronation ceremonies, who has accused the city council of attempts to steal this event from him.
As a result, citizens and visitors to Bratislava can enjoy a week full of activities since both events will overlap. The traditional Coronation Celebration festival will be held from June 21 to June 28, and the Bratislava Coronation Days will take place from June 22 to June 29.
Traditional Coronation Celebration festival
The Coronation Celebration festival takes place annually on the last weekend of June to mark the coronation of Maria Theresa, one of the most important monarchs crowned in Pressburg. She was crowned on June 25, 1741. While the festival re-enacts her coronation every fifth year, in the remaining years the re-enactions of coronations with other monarchs and their spouses take place.
This year, during the 16th edition of the festival, it will be Leopold II, the younger son of Maria Theresa.
As emperor he ruled only two years since he died on March 1, 1792. He did, however, pass a number of reforms during his 25-year rule in Tuscany. He took over the rule in this country after the death of his father, Franz of Lorraine. In Tuscany, he reformed the constitution, the tax system, criminal law, supported the development of science, and proposed a new education system and cultural life.
“The coronation ceremony will be re-enacted based on historical documents,” said Vetrík.
The ceremony itself will take place on Saturday, June 23 at 13:30 in the Jesuit Church near the Main Square. Admission is voluntary. However, if visitors want to sit in the first four rows, they can buy a seat for €10.