Ride of the Kings in Vlčnov, Czech Republic

Travel On The Dollar
May 5, 2009  •  5 min(s) read

Ride of the Kings
Ride of the Kings

Moravian Slovakia is a distinctive, culturally rich region of southeast Moravia, the Czech Republic. From time immemorial, the true gem of Moravian Slovakia has been Vlčnov, a town famous for the wonderous beauty of folk costumes, wine growing, rich music tradition, folk architecture, and above all for its customs, mainly the Ride of the Kings, which has continued to attract great attention not only from artists, ethnographers, and folklorists but also laymen and folklore art lovers from all over the world for nearly 200 years.

Vlčnov is situated in the centre of a basin covering the last projections of the White Carpathian Mountains (Bile Karpaty), close to the border with Slovakia. Historians maintain that the town’s origin dates back to even before the 10th century AD, the first written preserved record dating back to March 3, 1264, when the town suffered under the yoke of Bores of Ryznburk. He built a fortified seat with steep moat that was designed to protect its inhabitants from frequent attacks by foreign armed forces. Im the course of time, the town had several owners, the last lords of Vlčnov belonging to the house of Kounic.

Ride of the Kings
Ride of the Kings

The town had become best known for its annual Ride of the Kings, a folk festival which takes place on the last weekend in May. Boys who turn eighteen in the same year ride horses decorated with ribbons, go around town and chant witty verses celebrating their king and asking for gifts on his behalf. The king is a juvenile boy dressed up in an old-fashion woman’s folk costume, his head covered with a wreath of artificial flowers and embroidered ribbons and his lips pressed together to firmly hold a red rose, the symbol of taciturnity. He is guarded by two adjutants dressed in the same clothes as the king and holding an unsheathed sabre in their hands. During this festival Vlčnov offers many other accompanying events: performances by folklore ensembles from all over the Czech Republic and abroad, concerts by dulcimer music bands and brass bands, a fair of folk products, exhibits of ethnographic collections and paintings. During your visit, you should not miss the Vlčnov Wine Cellars (“budy”), the largestpreserved group of vineyard buildings.

Date & Location:
End of May
Vlčnov, South-East Moravia, Czech Republic

Entrance: CZK 100 for adults and CZK 50 on concession (2009 prices)

Day 1
18.00 – Opening of exhibition of paintings
20.00 – Competition for the best “Verbuňk” dancers from the Region of Uherský Brod – special folklore program concerned to dance “verbunk” – an individual mens dance of Moravian Slovakia, which has been proclaimed as “masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity” by UNESCO.

Day 2
14.00 – Traditional folk products fair
14.30 – “Vlčnovjane” Brass Band concert
16.00 – Welcome to Vlčnov – performances by Vlčnov ensembles and its guest
19.00 – “King’s rule passes on”– programme featuring the King’s train
19.00 – Till the dawn – evening and night with dulcimer bands and traditional local folk songs in the “budy” – Vlčnov wine cellars

Day 3
8.00 – Holy mass for the King’s Train, 18-year-old young ladies and the king
8.00 – Traditional folk products fair
9.15 – The King’s Train is received by the Mayor of Vlčnov
10.00 – Children’s folklore ensembles – village green stage
10.00 – “Merry is the village” – dance demonstration by folklore ensembles, concerts of brass bands and exhibitions in the town
11.30 – Ride of the Kings – a ride of the King and his train on horses decorated with colourful ribbons through the village
13.00 – Songs for the King – performances of folklore ensembles
14.00 – The King’s train rides at the head of the Folk Costumes Parade
14.45 – Arrival of the folk costume procession and the Ride of the Kings at the stadium
15.15 – “Songs for the King” – continuation
16.00 – Musicians’ Farewell with a brass band at the Sports and Culture Club

The program is subject to alterations.

Transport Information:
Uherské Hradiště train station is southwest of the city centre, on the corner of Nádrazní and Spojovací, but it’s only on a rail link between two main lines. Břeclav – Přerov trains, including from Hodonín and Rohatec, stop in the northern suburb of Staré Město. Brno-Slovakia trains, including those from Kyjov, stop in the southern suburb of Kunovice. The bus station is at Velehradská třída, near the Centrum department store. To get to the main square, Masarykovo náměstí, walk west along Obránců míru as far as Velehradská and turn left along Krátká and Šromova to the square.

The closest accommodation is in Uherské Hradiště, 15km away from Vlčnov, to which there are several daily buses and many more added during festival time. All prices are for May 2009 and subject to change.

Hotel Grand
Price: single CZK 850; double CZK 1240
Internet access

Hotel Quadro Club
Price: single CZK 600; double CZK 800

Hotel Slunce
Price: single CZK 1700; double CZK 2600
Breakfast included. Internet access

Travel On The Dollar