This year, 450 years will have passed from the birth of an indeed exceptional Renaissance personality, courtier, diplomat, writer and music composer, Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice. However, the most popular were his books of travels which can captivate a reader even today thanks to witty and appealing story-telling. The Czech National Bank has therefore rightly decided to dedicate the silver 200CZK silver coin to him.
The coin attracts attention by untraditional graphic design created by academic painter Vladimír Pavlica. The obverse side features an impressive and to the smallest detail rendered portrait of Kryštofa Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice, his name and dates 1564 and 2014. The reverse side displays the many fields in which Kryštof was engaging during his life, along with historical coats-of-arms of the Czech lands. The exceptionally well-made pure silver coin is another collector’s delicacy!
Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice was born at Klenová. Thanks to his noble birth he obtained a very good education at the court of future emperor, Archduke Ferdinand II of Further Austria. Thanks to his knowledge he accompanied Ferdinand on his travels to Italy and this most probably inspired his future journeys. In 1597 he set on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with his brother-in-law, Heřman Černín of Chudenice. The journey led them through Bavaria, Tyrol, Italy, Crete, Cyprus, Tel Aviv, Egypt and, of course, on to Jerusalem. Based on this journey he wrote his most famous book of travels “Pilgramage or journey from the Kingdom of Bohemia to the Holy Land and on to Egypt, by way of Venice and the Sea“.
Upon returning to Bohemia, he was promoted by Rudolf II to the aristocratic rank and he held various high posts at the court. After the emperor´s death he visited Spain as the ambassador of the new ruler Matthias, however no book from this journey was preserved. Consequently he settled at the castle Pecka, where he occupied himself primarily with composing music.
In 1618 he participated in the uprising of the estates, later on he got involved in the unsuccessful march on Vienna. After the battle on White Mountain he was arrested at the castle Pecka by Albrecht von Wallenstein and on 21 June 1621 executed at the Old Town Square in Prague together with 26 other Czech noblemen.
The commemorative silver 200CZK coin issued by the Czech National Bank to mark the 450th anniversary of birth of this Renaissance nobleman of immeasurable importance cannot be lacking in you collection!