Kutná Hora, former silver capital of the world
Kutná Hora is currently a relatively small, slow-paced town, hardly a city, located to the east of Prague in eastern Bohemia. It’s close proximity to the capital of the Czech Republic has made it one of the most popular day trip destinations for those looking to get out of Prague for a day.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at it today, but it once provided the known world with the majority of the silver. During this time period, the city was bustling, lively and rich beyond belief, and it was also more powerful and important that Prague itself. The power and population size rose and fell during the various wars and diseases that plagued central Europe over the centuries and when silver was discovered in the New World, Kutná Hora lost some of its strength.
Despite that, it still offers visitors some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights in the Czech Republic. The Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church, Italian Court, and Saint Barbara’s Cathedral just to name a few. And to top it off, it is unspoiled with all of the tourism and still maintains its small town charm and demeanor.
500 years in the making
The Saint Barbara Cathedral, which is the most prominent building in all of Kutná Hora, stands upon a hill at the far side of the city. It is a massive structure, yet the original drawings called for it to be nearly twice the size it is today. In addition, due to the lack of funding over several centuries, it took 500 years for the church to be completed, starting in 1388 and continuing till 1905. During that time, not only did the size nearly get cut in half, but due to changes in styles and architectural preferences over those 5 centuries, the original Gothic design was later modified slightly to take on a more Baroque style. The construction is a beautiful marriage of the two time periods.
St. Barbara is the patron saint of miners (as well as military men and anyone who works with explosives) and so the faithful silver miners of the 14th century wanted to pay homage to their patron saint and raised the funds to do so. The artwork inside the church still depicts the devotion for the saint as well as the saint’s love of her patrons, through the murals seen within.
Ghastly or Genius?
Just to the north of Kutná Hora on the outskirts of town, there stands a not so small chapel which has been made world famous due to the interior decoration of the chapel. Instead of crystals, paintings, murals, statues and tapestries, you will find the bones of over 50,000 lost souls. The story behind how they all arrived to this location is indeed quite sad and tragic.
However, the story behind how they came to be as they are now is not! Without giving away too many details, one could say that what was once a mournful memory is now an amazing presentation and incredible structural achievement. The Sedlec Ossuary or Bone Church as it is commonly referred to, is one of the most visited spots in the Czech Republic. You will have to judge for yourself whether or not entering a church full of the bones of 50,000 skeletons is creepy and scary or amazingly beautiful.
How to get to Kutná Hora
Kutná Hora is located just to the east of Prague, less than an hour’s drive, making it one of the most visited, most popular and most convenient to get to for those interested in a day trip from Prague.
The most common and popular way to reach is by a private car transfer as the trip door to door from the center of Prague to Kutná Hora is only about an hour’s drive.
For those who do not wish to drive, they can take a train from Prague’s Main Train Station, (or several of the other smaller train stations). The trains leave every hour or two depending on the time of day and take about 1 hour.
If you are interested in visiting the Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church, you can exit the train at the Kutná Hora Main Station and walk several minutes to arrive at the chapel.
If you wish to go directly to the center of Kutná Hora, then you must switch trains at the Kutná Hora Main Station and take another train to Kutná Hora Mesto (town) which is much closer to all of the other attractions. This would add another 20 or 30 minutes onto the commute time.