The Best Things To Do In Kutna Hora
Kutna Hora is one of the most beautiful Bohemian towns in the Czech Republic. The word Bohemian brings to mind beatniks and artists. Even today we see the influence of that vibrant, unconventional culture. The fashion was adopted in the 60’s, and 70’s by America’s flower power hippies. Since then the style has kept its hold in the hearts of the world’s free-spirited gypsies.
In actuality, Bohemia is an area of the Czech Republic. Today’s city trip today takes us right into the heart of Bohemia. Today, we go to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. Amazingly, most of the breathtaking bohemian-gothic architecture still stands, looming over the Czech countryside.
Take a trip off the beaten path and see the best things to do in Kutna Hora.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
UNESCO strives to preserve history. It is only through the preservation of historical and natural sites that we can keep valuable pieces of the history of humankind. Interestingly, UNESCO has designated two of the churches in Kutna Hora as world heritage sites.
1. St. Barbara’s Cathedral
This amazing Roman Catholic Cathedral took more than 500 years to complete. The first generations of builders were long since through the pearly gates when this imposing building found its completion. Kutna Hora earned its wealth with silver mines, so it is no surprise that this cathedral bears the name St. Barbara’s Cathedral. For those who don’t know, St. Barbara is the patron saint of miners.
Construction began in 1388, yet there are no factual records of who the first architect was. Though history assumes, it was to Johann Parler. During the Hussite Wars work on the building stopped. In 1481 work on the cathedral began anew. The cathedral boasts amazing gothic and baroque architecture. Inside, the medieval frescos are as stunning as the outside. St. Barbara’s Cathedral is by far, one of the most amazing feats of early human engineering.
2. Sedlec Ossuary
An ossuary is a box or a room in which the bones of the deceased are kept. In this case, the Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic chapel underneath the Cemetary Church of All Saints. More than 200.000 visitors fill this tiny hall yearly. Within the walls of the ossuary are the bones of an estimated 70,000 people. Each bone has been carefully and artistically placed to form the decorations and the furnishings of the chapel.
When you look at the pictures of this chapel, it is the stuff that makes nightmares. Though, when you find yourself, standing beneath the chandelier made of human bones, you can not help but find yourself humbled. In 2014, after being on my bucket list for more than 20 years, I finally made it to the Bone Church. There is a stillness that overcomes you when walking down the steps into the ossuary. A kind of deafening silence, that even when the chapel is full of visitors, overwhelms you.
At that moment you come face to face the eyeless sockets of humans past strung like garland from the chapel walls. Each artistic piece, created by a priest named Rint, was done with delicate care. There is no sense of morbid shock, only an instant understanding that indeed, all life is fleeting. My visit to the chapel was brief. There is but one small room filled with thousands, upon thousands of humans. Considering how much space we take up when we are alive, the Bone Church at Kunta Hora will blow your mind.
Art and History
GASK is the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region. Founded in 1963 as the Central Bohemian Gallery, it’s home is the Jesuit College in Kutna Hora. This fabulous museum is home to both temporary and permanent art exhibits. The exhibits encompass everything from standard mediums such as painting to multimedia music and light shows. This fantastic modern and contemporary art museum will stun your senses. Even in the middle of the old Bohemian countryside.
4. Kutna Hora Silver Mines
It was in 1142 when the first people settled in Kutna Hora, the second largest city in all of Bohemia. Prague, of course, was the first. It was in 1260 that the first historically recorded silver mines appeared. In fact, silver mining dates as far back as the 10th century. Between the 13th and the 16th century, Kutna Hora fought with Prague to be the set of Bohemia. Losing the battle, it remained on the top of the list of places to be in Bohemia. In 1995, it became a UNESCO world heritage site.
Most of the city looked old and destitute when I was there a few years ago. That was until I found the old town center. It was there that Kutna Hora’s rich history shone through. This place was once a thriving town full of miners, priests, and nuns. Now the quiet shops and bars pay host to the myriad of guests who dare to venture this far out of Prague’s bustling embrace. It is a town that is worth your time.