The most precious national symbol of protection of the Czech country is called Palladium of the Czech Land. It is a tiny wrought bronze relief plated with a thick layer of gold depicting Madonna with a child. In Christian context it is believed to provide special protection to the Czech nation in times of danger. Its origin is unclear; it is based on several legends going back to Saint Ludmila who purportedly received it from Saint Methodius. After her martyr death, it was inherited by her grandson Wenceslas. During the Hussite Wars, the chapel where Palladium was kept was burnt down and it was destroyed. The pilgrimage place was then rebuilt and a copy of the relief was created by an unknown artist. Its troubled fate continued until WW2 when it was secretly bricked up to prevent the Nazis from seizing it. At present, Palladium is kept in the pilgrimage church of the Ascension of Virgin Mary in Stará Boleslav where it is sought out by pilgrims who come here to prey for protection of the Czech country.
To highlight the Palladium’s cultural and spiritual significance Czech Mint has issued a splendid Smart coin denominated NZD 5 designed by academic sculptor Vladimír Pavlica. The coin is made of pure silver; in the centre of the reverse side we can see a gold-plated Virgin Mary with baby Jesus in her arms. The obverse side features the attributes of the issuer. Thanks to the two colours of the materials – silver and gold – Palladium is highly impressive. This splendid piece of art will enhance any numismatic collection; it also bears a strong spiritual message for every knowledgeable Czech.