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Czechs preparing for Maria Theresa’s 300th birth anniversary

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Prague, Dec 27 (CTK) – A series of events in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe in 2017 will mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Empress Maria Theresa, who was the sovereign of several parts of the Habsburg dominion, including Bohemia, in the mid-18th century, daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Tuesday.

The Czechs will organise exhibitions and lectures and issue coins in commemoration of the empress.

Public Czech Television (CT) is preparing a documentary which will apply special film methods to present the empress as a modern historical personality instead of flooding spectators with data, the paper writes.

Maria Theresa, the wife of Holy Roman Emperor Francis Stephen, was born on May 13, 1717. She died in 1780.

The main celebrations will be held in Vienna, where she was born and also buried in the Imperial Crypt.

The Czechs will mark the anniversary as well. Though Maria Theresa did not speak Czech, she was crowned Queen of Bohemia in 1743, on the eve of her 26th birthday.

She was also Margravine of Moravia.

She was the only female sovereign of the Czech Lands in their history.

The Czech National Bank (CNB) plans to issue a silver 200-crown commemorative coin designed by Vojtech Dostal, an experienced engraver who previously designed coins with other Habsburg House representatives such as Rudolph II or Otto von Habsburg, LN writes.

The coin will be decorated with the Austrian two-headed eagle holding a tablet with mottos referring to the Theresian reforms of the tax, currency, school, corvee, state administration and weights-and-measures systems, the daily writes.

Compulsory school attendance or domestic education was introduced in the Czech Lands and elsewhere during Maria Theresa’s rule.

In remembrance of this, the National Pedagogy Museum has launched a plastic arts competition for children focusing on the empress’ contribution to the school system, LN writes.

Aside the celebrations, the Czech Society for 18th-century Studies plans a conference of historians in May to discuss some controversial steps taken by Maria Theresa.

The organisers also highlight the penal code from Maria Theresa’s era, which embedded all kinds of “barbarous excesses” including torture and capital punishment for religious delicts, LN writes.

Maria Theresa’s relation to the Czech Lands was far from warm, but rather pragmatic, the daily continues.

Before her coronation as the Queen of Bohemia, she wrote in a letter that the Czech crown reminds her of a joker’s cap.

There is no monument to Maria Theresa in Prague, the daily continues.

Three years ago, the Prague 6 district launched a competition for such a monument to be installed in a newly arranged park, but the outcome was embarrassing. No winner was chosen from among the 28 competing artists, LN writes.

Similarly, the Slovak capital Bratislava recently dropped the plan to reinstal a new equestrian statue of Maria Theresa in a place where an old one used to stand between 1897 and 1921, the daily writes.

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