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Medieval crown jewels on display at Prague castle marking 20th anniversary of Czech independence
Czech President Milos Zeman looks at the Crown of Saint Wenceslas of Bohemia before the opening of the ''Czech Jewels'' exhibition on May 9, 2013, at Prague Castle in the Czech capital. The crown was named after the Duke and Patron Saint Wenceslas I of the Premyslids dynasty of Bohemia. The crown has an unusual design, with vertical fleurs-de-lis standing at the front, back and sides. Made from gold and precious stones for King Charles IV in 1346, it weights 2.475kg. Since 1867 it has been stored in St. Vitus Cathedral of Prague Castle. The jewels have always played an important role as a symbol of Bohemian statehood. The Czech jewels and Crown of Saint Wenceslas are kept in Prague Castle and are displayed to the public only once every five years. AFP PHOTO/MICHAL CIZEK.
PRAGUE (AFP).- The Czech crown jewels went on show at Prague castle Friday, in a rare public display for the 700-year-old items that are pulled out only on special occasions.

The medieval works of art consist of a gold crown decorated with 96 precious stones including rubies and sapphires, along with a sceptre, royal orb and other precious objects.

"The value of the crown jewels is incalculable. That's why it's impossible to insure them," said David Sebek, spokesman for the president's office.

The 2,358-gramme (83-ounce) crown was first worn by Charles IV of Luxembourg, king of Bohemia and Holy Roman emperor, for his Prague coronation in 1347.

The public has only viewed the collection 11 times since the start of the 20th century, with the last exhibition held five years ago.

The 10-day showing marks the 20th anniversary of Czech independence, the 95th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia and the recent election of President Milos Zeman.

The castle is also the seat of the presidency.

The crown jewels were taken Thursday from a special room in St. Vitus Cathedral that is equipped with seven locks and an intricate electronic security system.

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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