“A day in Kutná Hora”

Kutná Hora, Czechia (The Czech Republic). May 2018 (14 photos)

This is Part 2 of my Czechia (The Czech Republic) 2018 photo series, and also Part 15 of my Europe 2018 photo series.

Let’s leave Paris for a moment, although there were a significant number of requests in my previous post about East Paris to make a separate post about Pere Lachaise which I’ll do soon enough.

Approximately an hour to the east of Prague in the Central Bohemian Region of The Czech Republic, is the ancient silver mining city of Kutná Hora. Its historical centre is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

In the 13th century silver was discovered in the area and Kutná Hora flourished. The royal mint was established in the early 14th century during the reign of King Wenceslas II. It became the second most important town in the Kingdom of Bohemia. During the 16th century, the mines began to run dry and the town´s treasure soon became history.

Of particular note, Kutná Hora has 3 interesting churches and for about the price of a cup of coffee in Australia, I bought a ticket that gave me access to all 3 churches. Let’s visit them, shall we…

Saint Barbara´s Church (The Cathedral of Saint Barbara)

Saint Barbara’s Church is a Roman Catholic church in the style of a Gothic Cathedral. It is one of the most famous Gothic churches in central Europe. St Barbara is the patron saint of miners, which is highly appropriate for a town whose wealth was based entirely upon its silver mines. Construction took nearly 500 years. The first architect is said to be Johann Parléř (son of Petr Parléř, the architect of St. Vitus Cathedral and the Charles Bridge in Prague). The interior is full of Gothic and Renaissance paintings.

The church also has more than its fair share of beautiful stained glass windows.

After photographing so many stained glass windows, I got a bit creative with my photography. 🙂

A section of the interior. Via a narrow spiral staircase I made it up to the first floor which you get a glimpse of in the above photo.

Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist

This is one of the most important Czech Gothic buildings and one of the oldest examples of the Baroque Gothic style.

Inside is a rather lovely spiral staircase designed by Jan Blažej Santini Aichel.

The church was built first in the High Gothic style around 1300 as the first church in the kingdom resembling French Gothic cathedrals. It was built on the place of an older church and was a part of the Cistercian’s Sedlec Abbey, which was the oldest Cistercian abbey in the Czech lands founded in 1142. The abbey was burnt down by the Hussites in 1421 and the church became a ruin for the next two centuries. In 1700 the abbot of the Sedlec Abbey decided to rebuild the old church. The reconstruction was completed in an original style called Baroque Gothic. The church was consecrated in 1708.

The Sedlec Ossuary (The Bone Church)

The Sedlec Ossuary is a small underground Roman Catholic chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints, founded in the 13th century. František Rint was commissioned in 1870 to decorate the chapel. For that he used between 40,000 – 70,000 human bones artistically arranged to form numerous decorations and furnishings for the chapel.

An enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vault.

Detail from the coat of arms of the local aristocratic House of Schwarzenberg,

So that’s how I spent a day in Kutná Hora. Whilst there I also managed to indulge in the classic Czech dish, Svíčková, with locally brewed beer, of course. During my time in Prague it rained on only one day and that huge downpour occurred on the day I was in Kutná Hora, where there only a quick 5 minute light sprinkle. I was quite lucky with that.

This is Part 2 of my Czechia (The Czech Republic) 2018 photo series.
This is Part 15 of my Europe 2018 photo series, including Czechia (The Czech Republic), The Netherlands, France, Italy, Austria, Greece and Germany.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

A day in Kutná Hora

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81 thoughts on “A day in Kutná Hora

  1. Anne Fraser says:

    This brought back memories. I visited Kutna Hora and the macabre ossary a few years ago. We are planning to visit Prague next week as my daughter has a job there teaching English starting in September and wants help moving her luggage. I did not need much persuading to help.

  2. Good to see that you ventured out there. People rave about Cesky Krumlov, but I actually like Kutna Hora more. Fabulous stained glass shots. I didn’t go inside the churches there. That’s one thing about living in Europe for so many years, churches and castles start to look the same. Believe it or not.

  3. The Cathedral of Saint Barbara…beautiful. Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist…wow. The Bone Church… ok…it’s official. I’m scared! Stunning images of amazing locations.

    • I don’t think the Czech’s know how to build an ugly building. It’s all beautiful.
      You’d be OK in that basement with all those bones, Amy. It’s not like in the movies where you feel a cold wind/mist and then those bones come to life. Bwahaha 🙂

  4. Kutna Hora looks fascinating. I wish I’d known about this place when I visited Prague some years ago. Not keen on the use of skeletons for ‘art’ or decoration or whatever. Seems wrong to me.

    • It’s a beautiful town full of beautiful buildings and the familiar cobblestone roads. I’m not sure the people here in olden days knew how to build an ugly building. 🙂
      From an information sheet at the location, the town was heavily damaged and captured in a war in 1421. Thousands were buried in mass graves in the church grounds. When the church was being repaired/rebuilt they dug up the mass graves and this was the solution of what to do with them. Different times, different attitudes.

  5. Thank you for taking us…to beautiful places and strange ones as well. Marvelous shots as usual. Those stained glass windows are amazing, but the crypt is fantastic.
    Great shots of the Ossuary decorations. I once visited the Capuchin Crypt in Rome, but they did not allow photographing. Yours are amazing. I was thinking about who all those bones came from – in Rome they were deceased monks. I really would love to go to Kutna Hora. Maybe some day…but not to be a decoration in the crypt though…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capuchin_Crypt

    • Thank you very much. It’s a shame they didn’t allow photography at the Capuchin Crypt but I’m guessing it’s difficult to forget a sight like that. I also saw an ossuary in one of the Greek monasteries at Meteora and of course, there are the famous Catacombs of Paris.
      I’ve remembered I photographed an information sheet at the Sedlec Ossuary. In summary, there was a war in 1421 and over 10000 were buried in the cemetery grounds of the church. When they decided to reconstruct the war damaged church many years later they dug up the bones, and these were used for the decorations in the Bone Church.

  6. Wowza and wowza!!!! That creative shot made my head spin for a moment, but I like it. But my question is, is King Wenceslas II the same as Good King Wenceslas who looked out on the feast of Stephen or not? Inquiring minds like mine want to know! 🙂

    janet

    • Thank you, Janet. I tried several ways of moving the camera during a long handheld exposure and I thought this one came out rather nicely.
      I’ve done some investigating. Wenceslas I (907AD – 935AD), is the subject of that famous carol. He was actually the Duke of Bohemia. He died as a martyr and he had a reputation for heroic goodness that resulted in his elevation to Sainthood. He was also posthumously declared to be a King and came to be seen as the patron Saint of the Czech state.

  7. Magnificent gothic churches, I love all the intricate designs. Wow 500 years to complete that was some achievement. The bone church is something else, makes me shudder and wonder where all the bones came from, but what an eerie and beautiful work of art it is. You certainly have found some interesting places to show us

    • Those churches are really quite impressive, inside and out. Much of the architecture there is so beautiful.
      I casually took a cameraphone picture of an information sheet in the Sedlec Ossuary. I forgot I had it but following a war in 1421, thousands were buried on the war damaged church lands. When they undertook repair and reconstruction of the church, they dug up all the bones and used them here.

  8. That is quite affordable, three for the price of one coffee. Couldn’t tell the architecture has been restructured, but that keeps it standing. Great luck with bring indoors on that rainy day 😊

    • Yes, I was very lucky I’d arranged to visit Kutna Hora on the day of a large downpour in Prague. Even better, it stopped raining in Prague about an hour after my return so I was able to get out and see more of Prague. It’s great when the sun doesn’t set until after 9pm. It was quite an impressive town. Full of character and history.

  9. Hey Mr Draco .. oh that is some stained glass window! And that yellow passage and the staircase in the Church of Assumption of our Lady are fabulous! I’ll get there one day! 🙂 Super images as always

  10. Great post, loved it. I was in downtown Prague with a couple people during the huge downpour that occurred in May ~ it was really crazy. Beautiful, but crazy rain. Your zoom shot of the stained glass is awesome, I initially thought it was a GIF…very well done. Heading back to Czech Republic early September, already missing their beer 🙂

    • Thank you. Yes, I was there in May as well and there was a massive downpour one day but I was here in Kuta Hora that day. Try and get to Nase Maso butchery for a burger, steak or their meatloaf. You won’t regret it as long as you aren’t a vegetarian. 🙂

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