The town of living history: return of Charles IV
Medieval capitals such as Prague and Nuremberg were not the only favourite places of Charles IV Wander around the ancient royal town of Kadaň, admire its massive city walls and castle, and the Gothic Executioner’s Lane, the narrowest street in Bohemia and perhaps in the whole of Europe. Experience the imperial glory on Emperor’s Day, when Charles IV visits Kadaň once again and as if by magic, the town returns to medieval times.
The royal town of Kadaň situated on the river Ohře on the border between the Krušné Mountains and Doupovské Hills, hosted many Czech kings and Holy Roman Emperors. It was particularly favoured by Charles IV, who included it among the unalienable royal towns in the Maiestas Carolina Code from 1350. The St. Wenceslas Chapel of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague and the chapels of Karlštejn Castle are decorated with valuable semiprecious stones originating from the surroundings of Kadaň and Klášterec nad Ohří. The Emperor stopped in Kadaň several times when travelling from Prague to Nuremberg, the first two of his visits being the most memorable. In 1367 he arrived together with his young son Wenceslas IV and spent several days at Kadaň castle receiving Czech and foreign aristocrats. During his visit in 1374 he granted the citizens of Kadaň the right to establish vineyards, enabling the town to became one of the centres of Czech wine production,
The royal town of Kadaň, a listed cultural heritage area, is the impressive setting for festive events that cannot be seen anywhere else – Emperor’s Day, featuring a procession, jousting tournaments, street theatre and dozens of jugglers and musicians as well as fireworks, commemorates the visits of Charles IV, and the St. Wenceslas grape harvest, and pays homage to the Emperor for granting the city the privilege of producing wine. The town houses, churches and monasteries are also reminiscent of the glorious royal era. On the bank of the river, there is a copy of the Prague Astronomical Clock, which was designed by the local lad made good – the royal clockmaker Nicolas of Kadaň.