Bratislava Welcomes Coronation Celebration Again

On the 24th of June 2012, Bratislava celebrates the 10th anniversary of the most famous historical-cultural event in Slovakia, the Coronation Festivities. This year’s festivity will commemorate the coronation of the Princess of Mantua, Eleonora Gonzaga, wife of Ferdinand III, which took place on the 6th of June 1655.

Maria Theresa coronation reenacted last year (c) Bibiana Papp

Starting with last year, the Coronation Festivities take place in June in honour of the coronation of Maria Theresa, organised on the 25th of June 1741. Before, the festivities took place in September. This year, the event of the coronation will inaugurate the Cultural Summer of Bratislava.

The ceremonial of the coronation will start at 3pm on the Main Square, as usual. Next, the Knights of the Golden Spur will be ordered, also on the Main Square. As part of the Festivities, there will be a traditional crafts market on the Hviezdoslav Square. This year’s novelty will be the Festival of the Blaufränkisch species of wine, the favourite drink of Maria Theresa. It will be organised on the Primacial Square. Both events will take place from the 22nd to the 24th June.

The role of Queen Eleonora will be played by conservatory student, Lucia Komorovská. Filip Tuma, playing for the third time a royalty at a coronation festivity will be Ferdinand III. The royal couple will be accompanied by their four children.

Eleonora Gonzaga was the third wife of Ferdinand III, both of his wives had died before. She was 22 years younger than his husband, and was 24 to receive the crown. She was a very cultivated woman, especially interested in music and literature. Being also deeply religious, she founded some orders. She overlived his husband by almost 30 years, and was an important personality also during the reign of his stepson, Leopold I. She died at the age of 56 and was buried in the family crypt of the Habsburgs in Vienna.

Bratislava Main Square set for a king (c) Bibiana Papp

The coronation will be more authentic this year. The organizers want to bring closer to present day people the symbolism and acts which took place during coronation ceremonies as well as the roles of those who had participated in the respective events. The ceremony will be enacted also in Latin, as in the past, moreover the actors will be look-alikes of persons in the real procession, too.

Bratislava became the coronation town of Hungarian kings when Székesfehérvár fell into the hands of the Turks, and thus, Hungary lost its coronation town. Hence, the ancient town of Pressburg (Bratislava) became the seat of the assembly of the kingdom, the residence of the king and the archbishop. In St. Martin’s Cathedral, between 1563 and 1830, ten kings, a reigning queen (Maria Theresa of the Habsburg Dinasty) and eight consorts were crowned. The first person to accept the title and the crown of St. Stephen was King Maximilian on 8th of September 1563, and the last Ferdinand V on the 28th September 1830.

No coronation complete without a salute (c) Bibiana Papp

This tradition of the coronation is brought back to life every year to commemorate the famous past of the city. Each year another king or queen is crowned, as they followed each other in history. The whole ceremony is re-enacted with some changes, e. g. the coronation ceremony now takes place on the Main Square, so more people can see it than in the cathedral. It is always accompanied by costume parades of nobles and musicians, a knight’s tournament and demonstrations of contemporary martial arts as well as performances of jugglers, belly dancers, fire eaters and enormous puppets. This attracts more and more people every year.

By Bibiana Papp


  1. ouch, I think you step on some locals’ feelings.

    it is indeed ironic and curious Slovaks celebrate foreign coronations, but being a young country with a short history is not sad nor something to be ashamed of.
    It is definetely better than Egipt, with a rich beautiful past and a poor embarassing present.

    Slovaks should base their pride and nationalism on other areas. Get out there Slovaks do more things to feel proud of yourselves.

  2. ‘It is sad but true, peoples and countries with no real history of their own clutch at anything that they claim as their own past.’

    Really? I’d put it a bit differently. People who would deny others their history are patronising and culturally ignorant.

    1. James – I’m not denying these coronations took place in Bratislava, well actually Pressburg as it was then called by the Austro-Hungarians. I am sure the re-enactments are as acurate as possible and are a great spectacle. I was pointing out the irony of the pageant in the context of recent relations with Hungary.
      And yes, my comment about national history may have been a bit harsh.

      1. It was the ‘no real history of their own’ line, and that alone, that I had an issue with.

        Pointing out ironies in what countries do or don’t celebrate, or highlighting historical wrongs, both of which you also do in your comment, is perfectly fine.

  3. I am sorry to say this DC but you are a big ignorant.

    Now when said you what was on your chest you can go to the next topic.

    1. One more thing. I already said this: You English people keep using word “master” a lot. Probably because you still feel like masters of other nations.

      1. Losgar – I thought you had gone off in a sulk somewhere.
        Ignorant? – Sorry were or were not the 10 kings, one queen and 8 consorts crowned in Pressburg, Austro-Hungarian or are all the history books wrong and they were in fact Slovak?
        And are you saying that the treaty of St Germain is a work of fiction and Slovakia actually existed as (part of) an independant country before 1918.
        Other than the short lived Principalities of Nitra and Moravia in the 9th century, established shortly after the Slovaks arrived from the western Urals, the land that modern day Slovakia now occupies was under the control of other peoples, – Saxons, Germans, Poles, Austrians, Hungarians and Ottaman Turks with no recorded opposition from your ancestors other than joining the armies of which ever side took their fancy at the time for, almost a 1000 years.
        During that millenium you all did as you were told by the controlling powers – subserviant – subordinate – of a lower position and with less power than someone else; Master – someone who has control or authority over servants or subordinates.
        You may not like it but it’s true.
        We don’t still feel we are the masters of other nations it’s because we have never been subserviant to other nations.

        1. Like when the English marched in to Scotland murder the locals and declared the country a part of England and passed laws to make the Scots bow down to their new masters.
          History is something that happened in the country and if they wish to celbrate this part of their history which happen in Bratislava (PressBurgh) where the harm. Nothing to do with polics or what is happening with Hungray.

          1. Or when Scotland under King David extended as far south as the Humber or when one of my ancestors, William Wallace put York to the sword and burnt Carlisle – if your going to tell tales Ian, tell both sides of the story! The nobles on both sides are the only people who benefited from the wars between the Scots and English and the majority of them were French Normans. Also the eventual union of the two kingdoms was was the work of James Stuart, King of Scotland and was entered into voluntarily without violence or military occupation.
            If your proud of your Scots roots at least have the grace to actually read all of the history, not just the bits that suit your own personal opinions.

        2. DC, I will try to set examples so you can understand better. No irony I assure you.

          1. Paranoia about present day Hungary? What paranoia do English people get as soon as the Argentinian politicians mention “Falkland islands”. Now save your lectures how the islands belong to the UK – I know that, that’s not my point. I’m just setting examples.

          2. Our formes masters? Every country in the history had a king or an emperor. That’s how it worked.
          Now I am not aware of any big real unjustice that was done on Slovaks before beginning of the 19th century. Unlike in the UK from the movies I’ve seen and stories I’ve heard.
          I really don’t think that different nations living in those days Hungary had better or worse rights. Please correct me DC if I’m wrong but I know of none.
          Power was in the hands of nobles who asnwered the king.
          The very first Slovak nobles were decendends of Samo – the frank merchant from 7th century. There are no direct links to him but we guess it must’ve been Samo’s children who ruled the territory of Samo’s empire after he died.
          The biggest ones became the first kings of so called Moravian Empire, people were called Slovieni. My home town of Skalica was a part of Moravian empire – the first one, not Nitra minucipality. So the first and last 4 kings came. All today Slovakia was a part of that Empire so there are no doubts we are their decendents.
          Slovak created the Cyrilic alphabet /don’t confuse it with Glagolic alphabet/, which is still widely used, even in Mongolia.
          When the Hungarians arrived they didn’t kill everybody. In fact they couldn’t even control the whole territory for more then 100 years, they only ceased Nitra as the most important city, the capital city, beat the Frank army near Bratislava a asked the nobles to join them. Hungarians killed our last king along with Pribina’s son Kocel, who rulled the Balaton lake area.
          The first Hungary was formed with crucial help of 2 Slovak lords – Hunt and Poznan. St.Stephen, the first king of Hungary, recognized Slovak nation, got baptized by St.Vojtech, carried on his cape old writing in slovienski language.
          That’s history. History is full of stories like that.

          3. As you might know the name Hungary is only English translation. The name of old Hungrian empire is Uhoria. Everybody who lived in Uhoria was Uhorian. The todays Hungarians always were and are Magyars and today’s country is called literally Magyaria.
          As far as I know till the beginning of 19th century everybody was equal.

          4. The Slovaks weren’t only peasants, they were scientists, doctors, teachers, warriors, priests. Hungarian /Magyar/ language was very important to speak. So everybody studied this language. One language must’ve been first, official. Otherwise how would they communicate between each other?

          5. When the first Slavs arrived this territory was empty. Before us there were German tribes, before them the Celts, before them somebody else whose names we don’t know, before them the Cromanons and before them the mammoths ))
          The Polish formed their first kingdom way later. Why did you mention the Saxons? Never heard of any Saxon in SVK. Well before you arrived DC.
          Austrians were part of the Franks those times, they were formed later.

          6. We have no real history? Firstly my family has for sure. My direct ancestor from 17th century was protecting the area from the Turks between his town Radosina and further south to Nitra. Was knighted, we still have the coat of arms. When whole todays Hungary fell under the Turks the current southern border of Slovakia was what was standing between the Christianity and Islam for 200 years. Unforturnatelly several protestant lords kept hiring and helping the Turks till the Turks finally successfully ceased Bratislava and advanced on Vienna.
          I just want to remind you that during this whole time England was “minding’ it’s own business settling scores with the French and Spanish.
          After the Polish army arrived it was still a miracle that the Turks got beaten and only then the English decided to have help.
          This day we celebrate as the day when the Christian Europe was saved, we celebrate this day on September 15th, St.Mary’s day. BnM, as you call him, is doing his best at the moment to cancel this public holiday.

          What I want to say is the events that happened in the territory of Slovakia are in fact our history. If the Slovaks were good enough to fight and die they must’ve been good enough to celebrate happy days even in those times.

          I write too much – I go directly to WWII:
          7. Please DC go to and look up “Neville Chamberlain returns home with Munich agreement”. Hilarious video where Mr.Chamberlain says that Herr Hittler and him agreed that these too big nations should never go to war and that some countries like Czechoslovakia should learn how to share…. The UK betrayed the agreement with Czechoslovakia without any shame.

          The Czechoslovakia was prepared for this, built concrete bunkers along the border with Germany and the mobilization started. President Benes asked the Polish to confirm that they won’t attack CS but the Polish refused, asked for territory of Slesia. That time the CSs belevied they could beat the Germans but with the Polish in their backs it would be a suicede. So CS capitulated without one shot.
          Slovakia was supposed to be divided between Poland and Hungary. SVK president Tiso did what he had to do, in my opinion, to save lives. Maybe you don’t know DC and it will be a pleasant surprise to tell you that when Poland was attacked there were 3 armies going in. From the west the Germans, from the east the Soviets and from south the Slovaks. We took back the land which the Polish got in 1918. The SVK army didn’t advance any further. By doing this they actually saved the people from the Germans. I don’t feel sorry for that. The Polish would do the same.
          Yes I do feel sorry for what happened to the Jews. And Roma.
          Now after the war when we know exactly what was right and wrong, what could be done and what shouldn’t everybody can be a judge.
          The stories about concetration camps were myths. They say a few people escaped from the camps and after one of the Jew escappes talked to Tiso, Tiso stopped the transports.
          I believe that most of the SVKs believed that the Jews were only relocated. Seriously who could even imagine that monstrosity like concetration camps could be possible?

          1. I agrree with everything you wrote here and actually learnt something 🙂
            Thanks Losgar

          2. Losgar, just 2 things:
            1. the Great Moravian Empire never had kings! Not even Svatopluk was a king… A king is someone who is crowned, and as far as I know the rulers of the Great Moravian Empire have never been crowned…
            2. “Slovak created the Cyrilic alphabet” – wow!!!! Cyril and Methodius weres Slovaks?! What a surprise!!!

            To make clear St. Cyril and Methodius were SLAVS, who came from Thessaloniki (present day Greece!!!)

          3. thanks for the history lesson, seems like Slovaks have been underestimated after all.

          4. Hi Ian, You might be interested in the history of Celts in SVK. There were 2 Celtic tribes: Cotins and Bois. My grandfather a long time ago was doing excavations in his village, his biggest discovery was a Celtic brooch. The brooch is in a museum now.
            Very interesting: The Czech called their country also Bohemia. You might know Bohemian crystal. The name Bohemia was taken from the name of the Celtic tribe Bois that lived in the territory of the present Czech Republic.
            I like the idea celtic-slavic coexisted settlements. I bet happened more is known.

          5. Hi Canela,
            1. You are quite right. But I might be right too.
            Interestingly the word “king” was derived from the name of Charles the Great. His name in English is Charles but in real it was Carol or Carolus. Hence the SVK word “kral’. Charles the Great helped the old sloviens to get rid of the Avars, at the end of the 8th century, and the sloviens used his word as a name for a king.
            And from us the Hungarians derived their word for king “koroly”.
            Why wouldn’t our old rulers get crowned if they had their own arcibishops is a good question. Either A: They didn’t care or B: They did we just don’t know about that.
            However the pope in his letter addresses Svatopluk as Rex Sclavorum, The king of Slavics.

            2. Cyril and Methodius created Glagolic alphabet. Thanks to which Slovienski language was only the 4th language in the world /after Latin, Greek and Hebrew/ that was officially allowed to be used in the liturgy.
            When Methodius died Svatopluk expelled his students, 7 of them were very famous: Kliment, Naum, Angelar, Sava, Gorazd,….. all of them were canonized I think.
            They went to Bulgaria where they were warmly welcomed and there they created Cyrillic alphabet which they named after St.Cyril.

          6. Hi NY, I believe there is no country without a good piece of exciting history.
            Here in China I keep hearing about the 5.000 years old history of the Chinese all the time. I told my wife once: Wow, 5.000 years! You must’ve forgotten lots of things after such a long time ))

          7. LOSGAR – Well done, I knew you could do it! A well presented and well argued response. I won’t pick holes in it – there are some inaccuracies – but on the whole spot on.
            I hope this bodes well for the future and we can all look forward to more constructive and informative comments from you in the future.

          8. DC – In my hometown Skalica is a pub with half-busts of Hungarian kings on the wall. One of them is Bela II. the Blind who was born in my hometown in 1131. In the square is a relatively new statue of Luis I. who granted Skalica “free royal town” rights in 1372.
            Now anybody is welcome to come to my hometown and explain that this is not our history. I guarantee that after 2 days of drinking red wine that brave man will claim that SVK is the mother of Europe )) So far about 7 Americans, 2 Australians, one English, two Polish, one Hungarian, one Irish and one Chinese did so.

            On Friday I am leaving for home. Ready to make some new history.

        3. Dave I do read Scots history but like you writing about the Slovaks you look at the bad side but we all do this. When I look at Scottish history I remember the bad that happened to the people and not what we done for revenge or gain and you would do the same when you look at your countries history but looking at others you see the bad side.

  4. Strange for a country that has almost a manic paranoia about present day Hungary, that you make such an effort to celebrate the coronations of your former masters – The Austro-Hungarian dynasty.
    Not suprising though, considering the country only came into being in1918 and only then as part of the CZ and I don’t think re-enactments of rolling over as the Germans marched in or the deportation of the jews and Roma to their doom are going to attract the crowds.
    It is sad but true, peoples and countries with no real history of their own clutch at anything that they claim as their own past.
    It was once said “You have to know where you are from before you can know where you are going.” – Oh so true! and probably why the locals are so lost!

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