/ enMain menu 
Navigation:  Project ERHT / European Route

Emperor Route

A journey across Austria and Czech Republic

The Emperor Route connects the most interesting historic theatres in the Czech Republic and Austria – two parts of one state during the Habsburg Monarchy. 

The route starts in Graz, a city with two major historic theatres. With the beautiful building of the Opera (1899), we are being introduced to the work of the Viennese architects Ferdinand Fellner and Herman Helmer. They built more than 40 theatres throughout the Monarchy and Germany between 1870 and1910 and thus became synonymous with the theatre architecture of this period.  Also in the city stands the Playhouse. It opened in 1776, was rebuilt in 1823 and saved in the 1960s – a mosaic of three clearly defined styles.

The rich theatrical life in Vienna is represented by the Theater an der Wien (1801) where many important events in Austrian theatre history took and still take place. Further up the Danube, we find the oldest preserved bourgeois theatre in Austria, the theatre in Grein, built by local amateur actors in 1791. Near the border with the Czech Republic, the palace theatre (1885) in the Fürstenberg’s castle at Weitra introduces us to the world of private aristocratic theatre that had been spreading from Vienna to palaces in the whole Monarchy.

The Emperor Route continues in the Czech Republic with a wealth of these aristocratic theatres. A real jewel is the castle theatre (1768) in Český Krumlov, preserved in its original state, including the ready for use stage machinery, stage decorations, props and costumes, all from the 18th century. In the Renaissance palace of Litomyšl we find the second oldest palace theatre (1798) as well as a collection of stage decorations created around 1800 by Josef Platzer, the famous Viennese theatre painter.

Kačina palace, built 1806–1822, is one of the most beautiful Classicist buildings in the Czech Republic, complete with a palace theatre that opened in 1851, whereas the palace theatre in Mnichovo Hradiště owes its existence to a meeting of the three emperors of the Holy Alliance in 1833. Here, too, a large number of original equipment and costumes have been preserved.

The grand finale of the Emperor Route is the oldest operating professional theatre in the country, the Estates Theatre (1783/1859) in Prague, a symbol of the rich tradition of Czech and German theatre in the 18th and 19th century.














The Emperor Route is organized by the Arts & Theatre Institute, Prague. E-mail: erht@theatre.cz



The Emperor Route presents:

The European Route of Historic Theatres

Theatre has been a corner stone of European culture for over 2500 years. The buildings created for this art mirror our history. They can be found everywhere in Europe. Together they form a very special part of our common European heritage.

The “European Route of Historic Theatres” was initiated in 2007. It proved to be an excellent idea for travellers and theatres alike, and the European Commission agreed to support its extension to all of Europe until 2017.

Every six months, a new part of the European Route will open, until the European Route will be complete in 2016. It consists of 12 part routes, each comprising about 10 theatres, so that one can easily travel along any part route in a week (or see two or three theatres during a week-end trip).

The part routes of the European Route of Historic Theatres are:

  • Iberia Route (Spain, Portugal)
  • French Route
  • Channel Route (Great Britain, Netherlands,  Belgium)
  • German Route
  • Nordic Route (Sweden, Norway, Denmark)
  • Baltic Route (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia)
  • Black Sea Route (Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece)
  • Adriatic Route (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia)
  • Emperor Route (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary)
  • Alpine Route (Southern Germany, Switzerland, Northern Italy)
  • Italian Route I + II

As of autumn 2013, five part routes are already operating: the Nordic Route, the Channel Route, the German Route, the Emperor Route and the Italian Route I in northern Italy. In the following years, we are planning to open the next routes like this (subject to change):

Opening 2014: Adriatic Route and French Route

Opening 2015: Baltic Route and Iberia Route

Opening 2016: Alpine Route and Black Sea Route

More information: www.europeanroute.info


Existing routes of the European Route: