Prague is beautiful, isn’t it? But can you imagine some time ago a city nearby seriously competed with Prague in terms of wealth, architecture and importance? Yes, there was such a city – Kutná Hora. It rivalled Prague both economically and culturally, being the favourite residence of several Bohemian kings. It boasts different architectural styles, unique buildings from various historical periods and a long history of wine making. Kutna Hora is 120 kilometres away from Prague, an hour by train or 40 minutes longer by bus, which makes for an easy day trip. Kutná Hora and the neighbouring town of Sedlec are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. In the 14th-15th centuries trading silver made Kutna Hora one of the richest places in Europe. The single currency of the entire Kingdom of Bohemia, Prague ‘groschen’, was minted here.

kutna hora view czechia thesanetravel.com 1070381Here are seven things you may consider doing in Kutna Hora:

1 Visit Kostnice, or the Roman Catholic Cemetery Church of All Saints

Known as the most popular site of Kutna Hora but actually located in the neighbouring town Sedlec, the church is a 2-storey charnel house of the 14th century. According to a legend, a handful of earth from Jerusalem was scattered over its cemetery in 1278, making it one of the oldest Holy Fields in Central Europe and a burial place very sought after. Thousands of people were buried here during plague epidemics and the Hussite wars so in the 15th century 40.000 sets of bones had to be moved into the underground chapel of the church. In 1511 a half-blind monk piled them into pyramids.

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The present form of the bone decoration is the result of Baroque modifications made by architect Jan Santini Aichel in the early 18th century and wood carver František Rint in 1870. You can also see a coat of arms made of human bones – it belonged to Schwarzenbergs, an aristocratic family who owned the place for a while.

kostnice sedlec altar czechia thesanetravel.com 1070311You can also see a coat of arms made of human bones – it belonged to Schwarzenbergs, an aristocratic family who owned the place for a while.

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2 See the special Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist

One of the most remarkable and unique buildings of the Czech Republic, the church was first built in the Gothic style around 1300. It was burnt down by the Hussites in 1421 and lay in ruins until 1708 when architect Jan Santini Aichel remade it in his original style called Baroque Gothic.

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His most impressive works in the church are the amazing vaults and the front wall.

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The antechamber is decorated with statues by Matěj Václav Jäckel. The design of self-supporting spiral staircases is also highly inventive.

church of assumption of our lady spiral staircase sedlec czechia thesanetravel.com 1070338Despite the reconstruction, the eastern part of the church side chapels, the choir and the transept preserved its original appearance. The cathedral now belongs to Sedlec, the Roman Catholic parish of Kutná Hora, who administrates also the nearby Ossuary.

3 Visit the stunning church of St. Barbara in Kutná Hora

It’s one of the most famous Gothic churches in Central Europe. St. Barbara, the patron saint of miners, was a perfect fit for a town where silver mines are the sole source of wealth.

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 The construction of the church was initiated in 1388, just outside the town, on a rocky cliff with a magnificent view over the Vrchlice River. The work was interrupted several times and was only completed in 1905. It was meant to be a much larger church, perhaps twice the size of the present building, but the construction depended on the prosperity of the town's silver mines, which lessened significantly with time. The three-peaked roof and a provisional wall had been completed by 1588. A little later the church was occupied by Jesuits who gradually changed its structure by Baroque rules, though parts still remain Gothic. Most interior decorations date back to the late Gothic period. Choir benches were made by carver Jakub Nymburský between 1480 and 1490. The fresco decorations of the chapels are fine arts masterpieces depicting religious motifs and scenes inspired by the mines and the mint.

church of st barbara kutna hora czechia thesanetravel.com 1070368

The three-peaked roof and a provisional wall had been completed by 1588. A little later the church was occupied by Jesuits who gradually changed its structure by Baroque rules, though parts still remain Gothic. Most interior decorations date back to the late Gothic period. Choir benches were made by carver Jakub Nymburský between 1480 and 1490. The fresco decorations of the chapels are fine arts masterpieces depicting religious motifs and scenes inspired by the mines and the mint.

church of st barbara kutna hora czechia thesanetravel.com 1070393

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A little later the church was occupied by Jesuits who gradually changed its structure by Baroque rules, though parts still remain Gothic. Most interior decorations date back to the late Gothic period. Choir benches were made by carver Jakub Nymburský between 1480 and 1490. The fresco decorations of the chapels are fine arts masterpieces depicting religious motifs and scenes inspired by the mines and the mint.

church of st barbara kutna hora czechia thesanetravel.com 1070426

4 Walk the royal route and see the Jesuit College

The Jesuit College was built between late 17th and mid-18th century. A man-made terrace in front of it was enclosed by a low wall with statues of 13 saints upon it. That created a pseudo-bridge meant to resemble Prague's Charles Bridge and the Royal Route of Warsaw. The building is now home to a large art gallery.

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5 See the plague column of the Virgin Mary Immaculate

You can find plague columns in many Czech towns. This one is more than 16 metre tall and was built in 1713-1715 by Jesuit sculptor František Baugut (the author of the Jesuit College statues) to celebrate the end of a devastating plague. The column is decorated by a statue of the Virgin Mary and pictures of Kutná Hora's typical occupations.

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The chronogram reads: “The devout and stricken Kutná Hora erected it for the blessed Mother of God, the Ever Virgin, who immaculately conceived, when it was freed from the plague by the grace of Marian.” The sum of the numbers in the chronogram – 6146 – apparently indicates the number of plague victims in the town and surroundings.

6 Watch coin minting in the Italian Court

The Italian Court is where silver coins were produced in the Middle Ages, in times of Kutná Hora's wealth and glory. It’s named after Florentine bankers who were summoned by King Wenceslas II to implement his monetary reform in 1300. Mints scattered around the kingdom were closed and a central mint was established in Kutná Hora's Italian Court. Silver Prague ‘groschen’ replaced the thin, inferior silver coins used until then, and became one of Europe's strongest currencies of the time.

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In the early 15th century, the Italian Court became the favourite residence of King Wenceslas IV. Important royal events took place there, like the issue of Kutná Hora’s Decree in 1409 or the royal election in 1471. The newly elected king, Wladyslaw Jagiello, made the court his part-time residence. The complex is now a museum and a City Hall, and one of Kutná Hora's most visited tourist sites.

7 Have a well-deserved dinner in Dačický restaurant

dacicky restaurant kutna hora czechia thesanetravel.com 1070521

It’s the best rated restaurant in Kutna Hora, named after a famous historical character, writer Mikuláš Dačický from Heslov, a legendary Renaissance gourmet, a lover of wine, beer and women. It’s a place where you can try tasty dishes from Czech, Central and Eastern European cuisine. Enjoy good food, draught beer and great service in a medieval environment.

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  • Published by Anita on June 14, 2016
  • Traveled June 2016
  •  

    Author: Anita Sāne

    DSC 7536 m

    About the author
    Anita is a part time traveler, passionate photographer and a mature career woman
    from Latvia, 
    traveling mostly solo for more than 10 years. She is a skilled travel planner
    planning and executing her travels by herself. Follow Anita also on Instagram.

     

    Comments   

    Laura
    #10 Laura 2016-06-28 21:00
    I've never heard of this place, but it looks beautiful!
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    Lisa
    #9 Lisa 2016-06-21 17:09
    Great post and pictures..looks like a fabulous place to visit.
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    Marteen
    #8 Marteen 2016-06-20 21:03
    Oh my gosh I had no idea this place existed. Prague is on my list but if I can take a day trip there I will definitely put this on my list also. I'm intrigued by the coin minting.
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    Shobha
    #7 Shobha 2016-06-20 19:17
    I've only heard of Kutna Hora for the skulls in the church. I didn't realise there was much else in the town or that it was such a big deal back in the day.
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    Naomi
    #6 Naomi 2016-06-20 18:28
    Wow, you've captured some pretty amazing images. My favourite is the church of St. Barbara which looks so odd and strange. I love churches with gothic and baroque mixtures. The ceiling kind of reminds me of the Sagrada Familia with the white and the colours.
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    Ana
    #5 Ana 2016-06-20 18:01
    I've never been to Prague but it's on my bucket list. Hope to visit there some day. Your pictures are amazing!
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    Stephanie
    #4 Stephanie 2016-06-17 18:52
    The architecture here is amazing!
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    Henry / @fotoeins
    #3 Henry / @fotoeins 2016-06-15 23:28
    Hah! I love the fact you've categorized the articles under "Czechia". I love it though in truth I'm still emotionally invested in the name "Czech Republic"! Thanks for writing about this great town.
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    Kimmie
    #2 Kimmie 2016-06-15 18:29
    Love this! I didn't know about Kutna hora but when I go to Prague I'll be sure to make a day trip!!
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    Anisa
    #1 Anisa 2016-06-15 16:14
    I have only been to Prague in Czech Republic and definitely want to see more, so this is great. The city looks beautiful, especially that church!
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