(UNESCOs World Heritage List).
Most visitors come to Kutna Hora because they´ve heard about the Ossuary. Actually located in a suburb called Sedlec, about 1 mile from Kutna Hora, the Ossuary is part of an otherwise very normal looking church, inside of which is a very odd art installation - created from tens of thousands of human skeletons.
The Cistercian Abbey that was founded here in 1142 became a fashionable burial place in the late 13th-century when the Abbot returned from Jerusalem and sprinkled the area with soil he filched from Jesus´s crucifixion site. The plague of 1318 was a windfall for the cemetery, contributing some 30 000 corpses.
By the end of the 19th century the graveyard was so cramped that drastic measures had to be taken. The solution was both bizarre and practical: Local wood-carver Frantisek Rint was commissioned to create a series of skeletal decorations. He made urns of thigh bones, an anchor from femurs and several spectacular chandeliers, each of which is said to incorporate every bone in the human body. The collection also includes four large bells, the coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family (who paid for the project) and even the artist´s signature, all designed of bones. A visit to the Ossuary is a truly freaky experience that feels like a visit to a cannibal´s castle or something from the movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom".. And it seems quite fitting that the adjacent monastic buildings are now home to one of Europe´s largest tobacco factories.
Although the Ossuary grabs most of the attention, Kutna Hora("Mining Mountain" in Old Czech) would be worth a visit even without the bones. The town became famous in the late 13th century when silver ore was discovered there. A Medieval boom town Kutna Hora was built with magnificent Gothic structures, many of which have survived the ravages of centuries. In the late Middle Ages the Royal Mint was established here, and the town became second in importance only to Prague. Kutna Hora´s fortunes were reserved by the Hussite Wars nin the 15th century, followed by gradual depletion of its silver mines. By the 17th century the town had slipped back into relative obscurity. The quiet streets that surround the main square are lined with Renaissance houses and are enjoyable to explore.
The Cathedral of St. Barbarais easily the most fantastic building in town and probably the most awesome church in the Czech Republic. Built from the late 14th to the late 16th centuries, the great church was meant to equal St. Vitus´in Prague, at a time when the two cities were very much rivals. All towers, spires and flying buttresses, this cathedral was crafted by some of the finest artists and architects of the time. It´s a masterpiece of Gothic design, with an extravagant exterior that is usually not associated with Medieval architecture. Paid for by miners and named for their patron saint, the Cathedral of St. Barbara is an enthusiastic reflection of the optimism of the times. Although the interior decoration is no match for the exciting architecture, it´s worth stepping inside. In the Miners´ Chapel are late Gothic frescoes of miners with pick-axes and wheelbarrows.
In the Silver Minters´ Chapel, paintings depict craftsmen on three-legged stools hammering out coins. The ceiling is decorated with emblems of the mining guilds. You can visit the deepest medieval silver mine of the World, but you have to be brave as our former client famous American actress Joan Allen, see photo. Just down to hill from the Cathedral you´ll find the Museum of Medieval Mining, a rather crude treasury of ancient tools situated adjacent to one of the old mines. Here you can tour the tunnels themselves; one of the city´s best attractions. A short stroll toward the town center takes you to Italian Court (Vlassky dvur), a heavily-restored 13th-century Gothic building that once functioned as the Royal Mint. The Court was named for the Italian artisans who hammered-out the silver. The coins they produced, called groschens, made the Bohemian king some of the wealthiest in Europe. Inside there´s a small exhibition on minting and a rather anemic collection of rare and semi-precious coins. The Czech coin Tolar made from this silver gave the name to American Dollar. Behind Italian Court is the town´s oldest church, St. James(sv. Jakub), a slightly lopsided structure supporting a towering steeple. Climb to the top for sweeping views of Kutna Hora and the leafy Vrchlice Valley. Kutna Hora is 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Prague.
Source: Avant Guide
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