KUTNÁ HORA (Czech Republic)

15/01/2022

Are you going to this Czech town full of beauties? Let this article inspire you what can be seen there

Kutná Hora is a town in the Central Bohemian Region, whose town monument reserve is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List (specifically, the historic center, the Church of St. Barbara and the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Sedlec). In the Middle Ages, Kutná Hora was one of the most important Czech royal towns due to silver mining. More than 20,000 people live here.

A little history

The name of the town is related to the mining of silver ore. At the end of the 13th century, the local area produced about a third of the volume of silver in Europe. 

Around 1300, King Wenceslas II. issued the new mining law, which established royal rights over silver mining and minting, introduced a single coin and concentrated minting in Kutná Hora. Under the leadership of Italian experts from Florence, in the new mint, which according to them is called the Vlassky dvur, Prague groschen began to be minted in 1300. In 1318, Kutná Hora was promoted to a town and was given various privileges. The wealth of the Kutná Hora mines - especially the Osel shaft - became the basis of royal power in Bohemia and the main source of funds for the magnificent buildings of the Luxembourgs throughout the 14th century. King Charles IV. and Wenceslas IV. therefore supported Kutna Hora in various disputes and in the improvement of urban buildings; Vlassky dvur became the seat of King Wenceslas IV. In the second half of the 14th century, the church of St. Jacob and six others were built, the town hall and other buildings and the city received a wall with six gates. 

Due to the monastic origin of Kutná Hora, the town churches fell under the administration of the Sedlec monastery, which was located outside the town. To solve this situation, a mining fraternity was established in 1384 to build a new church of St. Barbora on the grounds of the Vyšehrad Chapter and behind the city wall. Although yields declined at the time, construction activity grew and King Wenceslas IV. had the Vlašský dvůr expanded, where he often lived, and in 1409 he signed the Kutná Hora Decree about new division of powers at the University of Prague. 

In 1489, Martin from Tišnov printed a richly illustrated Kutná Hora Bible here. From the same year, Italian bishops also lived here, thanks to better techniques, mining revenues increased and the city competed with Prague in its importance.

In 1626, a Latin school was founded by the Jesuits and next to the church of St. Barbora built a magnificent dormitory.

In 1726, silver mining was stopped.

The important Czech playwright Josef Kajetán Tyl was born in Kutná Hora. (source: wikipedia.org)

What to visit

St. Barbara's Church

Address: Barborská 685, Kutná Hora (information center), web: khfarnost.cz

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, Kutná Hora was a quiet place where only a few people lived. That is why the Cistercians, monks who sought peace for prayer, founded a monastery here. However, everything changed when rich sources of silver ore were found. A silver fever broke out and the quiet place became a busy place, which also gained royal privileges. At the end of the 14th century, the construction of the magnificent Church of St. Barbara (patron saint of miners) began, which today belongs to the golden fund of world architectural heritage.

It stands on a rock above the river Vrchlice, above the place where the main entrance to the deepest mine of the city was. It was built on the model of large French cathedrals.

St. Barbara's Church is a Roman Catholic church. From an architectural point of view, this is a five-aisled Gothic cathedral. The circumstances of the foundation of the Church of the Corpus Christi and St. Barbara are completely unique. Originally there was a small chapel, dedicated to St. Barbara. At the instigation of the Brotherhood of the Corpus Christi, the townspeople built a church at their own expense, which boldly competed with the Prague Cathedral. It has been registered in UNESCO since 1995. Construction began in 1388 and took place in several stages, which were related to the prosperity of the silver mines. In 1626, the church was handed over to the Jesuits, who built a Jesuit college next to it.

Admission here is charged at 160 CZK adults, children under 15 years 50 CZK, up to 6 years free (year 2021) and you can see the church yourself without a guide. You can find information about the temple in the leaflet or download it to your mobile phone with the QR code. I recommend buying a discounted ticket called Sightseeing Circuit 3 TOP, where in addition to Barbara you will also have access to the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, and to the world-famous unique ossuary in Sedlec. All 3 monuments here cost 300 CZK, which is cheaper than buying one at a time.

In the temple you can also see a beautiful organ pipes, which consists of almost 4,000 flutes. In addition to the nave, you can climb to the first floor and enjoy the view from the heights or from the outdoor balcony of the surroundings in front of the church. (source: wikipedia.org and official leaflet)

Jesuit college

Address: Barborská 51, Kutná Hora, web: www.gask.cz

The Jesuit College in Kutná Hora is a Baroque building from 1667-1750 designed by the prominent Italian architect G. D. Orsi, who worked in Prague. In front of the dormitory, a terrace with statues of many saints was created, reminiscent of Charles Bridge in Prague. There is a nice view of the valley and the church of St. Barbara from the side. You will walk along it if you go from the Czech Museum of Silver, mine, or from the city center.

After the abolition of the order in 1773, it composed an extensive building such as a military barracks and a hospital. Now there is a Central Bohemian Gallery.

We weren't inside, but if you walk from St. Barbara's Church, you'll see stone steps in front of you. I recommend climbing them and you will find yourself in a beautiful large garden behind the dormitory, where especially in summer there is much to see, there is even a vineyard. Judge the beauty of the photos. Admission is free. There is also a restaurant.

Czech Museum of Silver + medieval mine

Address: Barborská 28, Kutná Hora, web: www.cms-kh.cz

The Czech Museum of Silver in Kutná Hora focuses mainly on silver mining in this city and its subsequent processing. The seat is the local monument Hrádek.

Today, the museum's specialist department manages more than 170,000 collection items. The largest collection is archeology, numbering almost 120,000 pieces of collections. The numismatic collection (coins, medals, sacraments, banknotes, etc.), artistic (paintings, drawings, graphics and sculptures), geological (ores, minerals, rocks and paleontological collections), ethnographic and handicraft, the basis of which, similarly to at the Archaeological Fund, was created since the end of the 19th century. The unique exhibits of the mining technology fund are among the oldest in Europe.

Part of the mining-historical exposition is a medieval mining work in the area between the main building of Hrádek and the Church of St. Barbara. Mine of sv. Jiří is one of the most interesting technical remains after medieval mining in Kutná Hora. At present, in the length of 280 m, it is open to the public as part of Tour II. "Silver Road" circuit. In the winter months, members of the Czech Speleological Society have been working for several years on survey, mapping and hydrological measurements in other areas inaccessible to the public.

You can visit 2 circuits:

I. - City of Silver - individual tour

II. Silver Road - with a guide + a visit to a medieval mine. I definitely recommend this circuit for your experience. If you do not want to get dirty, I recommend paying the few crowns for renting a coat (corridors are very narrow and some are low), helmets with headlamps are mandatory and also pay for 50 CZK the possibility of taking photos. This route is limited to 25 people, so I definitely recommend booking in advance so you don't drive unnecessarily. Children under 6 years old are not allowed. Entry into the mine is not recommended for people suffering from claustrophobia and deteriorating health and is prohibited for women in the high stages of pregnancy. People under the influence of alcohol, drugs, heavily soiled clothes and dogs are not allowed in the museum. I probably wouldn't recommend a tour to very obese people, because some of the corridors are so narrow that I also had problem to go sideways. And often there is a forward bend due to low altitude, so the poor will be very tall. But the tour doesn't last long, so it's fine. It's an experience! Take a look at the photos. By the way, if you are a fan of mining works, there are quite a lot of them in the Czech Republic, even accessible to the public, I as a graduate geologist, have been in many, so if you are interested, I will add others.


Kajetán Tyl's house

Address: Tylova 507, Kutná Hora, web: www.cms-kh.cz/tyluv-dum-expozice

We weren't inside, we just happened to be walking around without knowing about the house, so I add as one of the possible places to visit.

Tyl's birth house bore the original name "Dům u zlatého hřebene" and stood in the former Čáslavská, today's Tyl Street. In its current form, it was built on Gothic foundations after the great fire of the city in 1823, when a large part of this city district was reduced to ashes. A medallion relief of Tyl's bust has been installed on the front facade of the house since 1862, with a copy commemorating that J. K. Tyl, a writer, playwright and creator of the text of the Czech national anthem "Kde domov můj", was born here on February 4, 1808. The exhibition is dedicated to the life and work of this important figure of the Czech national revival.

Individual tour for only CZK 10, photo shoot CZK 50.

J. K. Tyl born house
J. K. Tyl born house

Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Address: U Zastávky 280, Kutná Hora - Sedlec, web: www.sedlec.info/katedrala

The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist is a former convent church of the Cistercian Sedlec Monastery in Kutná Hora in the local part of Sedlec, about 2 km northeast of the city center. Originally a medieval church, it was restored at the beginning of the 18th century by Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel in the Baroque Gothic style. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. We were not inside, we only have a photo from outside.

ATTENTION, the ticket cannot be purchased directly at the church, but a short distance from the church is the info center at Zámecká Street 279, where tickets are sold or you can buy them online. Just like to Constance below. This church and the ossuary are a short walk away.

The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist
The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist

Constance - cemetery church of All Saints

Address: Zámecká 55 (the church with the cemetery is right next door), web: www.sedlec.info/kostnice

So you definitely have to visit this world famous place, it is unique. We were here in the summer during a week in the morning, and no one was here, which often doesn't happen.

Ossuary = a room for storing human skeletal remains. Most of them are underground sacral buildings, where human bones are folded into various shapes. The ossuaries were formed at the time of the great death of the population, such as during the plagues, wars, epidemics.

The ossuary is an underground chapel in the cemetery church of All Saints, which was originally part of the Cistercian abbey in Sedlec, founded in 1142 by Miroslav of Markvartice. The church was built in the 14th century.

After the plague of 1318, 30,000 dead were buried here, and another 10,000 were killed during the Hussite wars. After the abolition of the cemetery at the end of the 15th century, the exhumed bones were stored inside and outside the underground chapel, where a semi-blind monk from Sedlec assembled them into large pyramids in 1511.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the church was renovated by the architect Jan Blažej Santini. He also modified the interior in the Baroque Gothic style, including the design of bone decorations and other accessories.

When in 1784 Emperor Joseph II. it abolished the monasteries, the Sedlec monastery also disappeared and the cemetery church came into the possession of the Schwarzenberg family from Orlík. In 1870, their master builder František Rint from Česká Skalice decorated the underground chapel with extraordinary imagination, using bones and skulls from the pyramids mentioned above. He disinfected the bones he used to decorate and bleached them with chlorinated lime. He added the Schwarzenberg coat of arms to the decoration and incorporated his name into the decoration. Therefore, it is considered to be the original author of this exceptional arrangement of human remains.

From 1.1.2020, it is not allowed to take photos inside Constance, because it is a place of reverence, where tens of thousands of the dead rest, and people took selfies on Instagram without any respect. I can only agree with this ban, so unfortunately I will not show you the photos, but you can find them on the official website. If you want to break the ban discreetly, be careful, there are cameras everywhere.

I recommend buying a combo ticket and, as mentioned above, tickets are not sold directly at the sights, but at the info center at Zámecká Street 279, or online. In Constance you can buy small souvenirs and you can pay by card.

Plague Column

The Baroque Plague Column of the Virgin Mary is located in Šultysova Street in Kutná Hora. It is protected as a cultural monument of the Czech Republic. The column is the work of the Jesuit sculptor František Baugut and was created between 1713 and 1715 as a reminder of the plague epidemic, during which over a thousand people died in 1713.

Hamiczech at Plague Column
Hamiczech at Plague Column

Lego museum

Address: Hotel muzeum Lega, Zámecká 52, Kutná Hora 

There are a total of 5 of these museums in the Czech Republic. In Prague is the largest, but it has its rarities in Kutná Hora. There are unique models of cultural monuments of Kutná Hora, such as Constance or the Church of St. Barbara. And you can admire another thousand different models. In addition to the interior, there are large models outside, such as Mr. Yoda from Star Wars, a big truck and more, and if you get a taste for coffee, you can find other great models in the cafe. You can read more about this museum in my next article: Lego Museum and Hotel.

Alien Vs. Predator Museum

Address: Šultysova 174, Kutná Hora

A unique museum for all lovers of sci-fi horrors, such as Aliens, Predators, Terminators and more. The whole article, including photos from this experience, can be found in the article: Aliens vs. Predators museum.

Where to stay

There are a lot of hotels in Kutná Hora, but have you ever stayed overnight in a museum? What about the Lego Museum? This attracted us the most and you can find a review of the hotel in the article: Hotel museum Lego.

Summary

Kutná Hora is a beautiful historic town in the Czech Republic, with many monuments that you must see, and I'm afraid that one day will not be enough for you, in two you can do it. And for beer lovers: there is also the Kutná Hora brewery (the burgher brewery was founded in the 16th century!), we tasted the beer, and it was very good, so in the hot summer, after visiting several monuments, it will certainly come in handy!

You can find more tips for trips on Instagram @hamiczech.