Kutna Hora - the Medieval silver mining town
Beautiful Czech town of Kutná Hora is possibly the most popular and probably the most rewarding destination for a day trip from Prague. The town is worth a full day’s visit at any time of year. It lies about 80 kilometres east of Prague and it is easy to navigate.
History of Kutna Hora
Enriched by the silver ore that veined the surrounding hills, the medieval city of Kutná Hora became the seat of royal mint in 1308, producing silver groschen that was then the currency of Central Europe. Kutná Hora rivalled Prague in importance, but by the 16th century the mines began to run dry, and its demise was hastened by the Thirty Years’ War and a devastating fire in 1770.The Kutná Hora historical town centre with the Church of St. Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List (from 1996).
Gothic Cathedral of St Barbara and Barborska street
Kutná Hora’s greatest monument is the Gothic Cathedral of St Barbara. Construction was begun in 1380, interrupted during the Hussite Wars and abandoned in 1558. The cathedral was finally completed in neo-Gothic style at the end of the 19th century.
Its soaring nave culminates in elegant, six-petalled ribbed vaulting, and the ambulatory chapels preserve original decorations. The cathedral boasting an extravagantly interior with many unusual original 15th-century frescoes featuring mining and minting, along with a mural of the Vision of St. Ignatius. The terrace outside of the church at the eastern offers the finest view in town.
You must walk along beautiful and scenic Barborská street. It runs along the front of the 17th-century former Jesuit College and offers glorious views over the valley below and is decorated with a row of 13 baroque statues of saints, inspired by the statues on Prague’s Charles Bridge.
Sights of Sedlec district
Sedlec is the site of the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady and the famous Ossuary. The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist is one of one of the oldest examples of the Baroque Gothic style. The church was built first in the Gothic style around 1300 as one of the first High Gothic building in the Kingdom of Bohemia. It was built on the place of an older church and was a part of the Cistercians Sedlec Abbey. The abbey was burnt down by the Hussites in 1421 and the church became a ruin for the next two centuries. At the beginning of the 18th century, the church was reconstructed in Baroque Gothic style. Most impressive works in the church are the amazing vaults and the front wall of the church with its antechamber decorated with the statues.
What else is worth seeing?There are plenty of other historic sights in Kutna Hora. An interesting activity is to take a tour of the old silver mines, as far as six floors below ground.
Also worth seeing is the Italian Court (Vlassky dvur), home to the old mint - once responsible for producing much of Europe's coinage - and the former residence of Bohemian King Vaclav IV. It was built at the end of the 13th century. The Gothic St. James's Church, with its 86-metre tower, is another prominent building.
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