The Czech Republic’s silver lining

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

The Czech Republic’s silver lining

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Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

The evenings are pleasantly calm in Kutná Hora. This old medieval city is close enough to Prague – about an hour’s drive – that many visitors come just as a day trip from the capital. Once they’ve left, I’m able to walk around the historic centre of the city with few tourists in my way. As the sun sets and an orange glow pervades the main square, I’m glad that I decided to spend the night here.

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

The central area is fascinating – wealthy Middle Ages glamour rolled into an old trading hub – and I’ll tell you more about that shortly. But first, the highlights.

The two most important sites in Kutná Hora bookend the area that I decide to explore with my time. They are both churches, relatively close together (a 30 minute walk), although their designs mean they couldn’t appear further apart. At one end is the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec. At the other is the Church of St Barbara.

Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec

The cathedral is the further from the main tourist area of the city. As you arrive, you notice some industrial buildings around and it does seem a little out of place to suddenly have such a large church dominating the area.

Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

But, of course, this would have looked very different when the foundation stone was laid. The cathedral was first built here around 1300 but was burned down during the 15th century. It sat as a pile of ruins until it was rebuilt and opened again in 1708.

Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

The architect for the reconstruction was a man called Jan Blažej Santini Aichel, whose name you may recognise if you’ve been reading my stories about the Czech Republic. He also designed the Pilgrimage Church of Saint John of Nepomuk on Zelená hora.

Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

He created a masterpiece on the site here at Kutná Hora as well. He took what remained of the High Gothic style of the original church and incorporated that into his ideas for a Baroque building. Although it looks relatively traditional from the outside, what you end up with is an interior that is striking for its height and bright walls with vibrant painted art. Everything inside appears so large and warm, a glowing tribute.

Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Where is the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec?

You’ll find the cathedral about 20 minutes walk northeast from the historic centre of Kutná Hora. The address is U Zastávky, Sedlec, 284 03 Kutná Hora. You can see it on a map here.

When is the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec open?

The cathedral is open from April to October from 0900 – 1700 (9am – 5pm) every day except Sunday when it is open from 1100 – 1700 (11am – 5pm).
From November to March, it is open from 1000 – 1600 (10am – 4pm) every day except Sunday when it is open from 1100 – 1700 (11am – 5pm).

How much does it cost to visit the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec?

Entrance for an adult is 50 CZK (US$2.05), for a concession it is 30 CZK (US$1.25).

I would suggest buying the combined ticket for the Church of St Barbara, the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec and the Ossuary at Sedlec. That costs 185 CZK (US$7.60) for adults and 130 CZK (US$5.30) for concessions. Children need to buy separate tickets.

Church of St Barbara

At the other end of town, the Church of St Barbara appears much darker – but not less spectacular in its own way.

Church of St Barbara, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Although construction on the church started in 1388, it wasn’t technically finished until 1905. This means that, inside, you have a vast collection of influences in the art and design aspects, spanning more than five centuries. The overall size of the church is impressive inside but it’s all these details that are particularly interesting.

Church of St Barbara, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Church of St Barbara, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

It’s fitting that the church feels darker inside compared to the sunny day I am enjoying in Kutná Hora. St Barbara is the patron saint of miners and this church was erected in her honour by the miners who made this city so great. Even for all those years when the building didn’t even have a roof, miners would come here to pray. Having some spiritual goodwill was important in those dangerous days.

Church of St Barbara, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Church of St Barbara, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Where is the Church of St Barbara?

You’ll find the church at the southern end of the historic centre of Kutná Hora. The address is Barborská, 284 01 Kutná Hora. You can see it on a map here.

When is the Church of St Barbara open?

The church is open in January and February from 1000 – 1600 (10am – 4pm).
In March it’s open from 1000 – 1700 (10am – 5pm).
From April until October it’s open from 1000 – 1800 (10am – 6pm).
And in November and December it’s open from 1000 – 1700 (10am – 5pm).

How much does it cost to visit the Church of St Barbara?

Entrance for an adult is 85 CZK (US$3.50), for a concession it is 65 CZK (US$2.65), for children aged 6 – 15 it is 40 CZK (US$1.65) and free for children below the age of 6.

I would suggest buying the combined ticket for the Church of St Barbara, the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec and the Ossuary at Sedlec. That costs 185 CZK (US$7.60) for adults and 130 CZK (US$5.30) for concessions. Children need to buy separate tickets.

Mining in Kutná Hora

From about the 13th century, Kutná Hora became one of the most important cities in Central Europe – and it was all because of the silver in the ground here.

Great wealth came from the mines in the area that were digging up silver at a great rate. While much of the money flowed to other parts of the region, enough stayed in the city to build the magnificent buildings you find in the streets and on the squares in the centre of the city.

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

In particular, the Royal Mint and the Royal Residence show the status that was once found in Kutná Hora. One of the most impressive buildings, which you’ll see as you approach the Church of St Barbara, is the Jesuit College. It was built towards the end of the city’s peak and is now used as an art gallery.

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

The silver mines were officially abandoned in the late 1700s but the decline had been coming for quite a while. War, natural disasters, and the plague had all taken their toll on the city. What had once been a dominant centre of business faded.

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

But the silver lining for us today is that so much of the historic part of the city still remains. Kutná Hora has a new lease on life and it’s become an extremely popular place for tourists. I can see why. Not only is it easily accessible, but it has two masterpiece churches (that are included on the World Heritage List) and a beautiful city centre. And it has one of the most bizarre sites in the whole country, the Sedlec Ossuary made of human bones. You can find more about that in another post.

How do you get to Kutná Hora?

With public transport, the best way to get to Kutná Hora from Prague is by train. There’s a direct train to the main station that takes about 50 minutes but to get to the historic centre you’ll need to change to a local train to the Kutná Hora město station. You can check the timetable here.

Are there tours to Kutná Hora?

Yes, there are lots of tours to Kutná Hora and they are a great way to make the most of a day trip from Prague. While it’s easy enough to get there and see everything independently, it does take longer to do it yourself and involves a bit more work. I would recommend either this day trip from Prague or this one.

Where should you stay in Kutná Hora?

If you’re looking for a budget option, I would suggest Penzion Sedlec which is close to the main train station.
For something affordable but comfortable, Pension Bed&Breakfast is probably the best place.
For a nice modern apartment, you should definitely try Penzion Apartments Benešova 6.
And if you want to splurge for somewhere special, you can stay in a castle filled with modern art at Chateau Třebešice!

UNESCO world heritage siteThis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For more info click here.
You can see all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites I’ve visited here.

3 Comments
  • Taj mahal tour by train | May 11, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Wow! So stunning pics in your post. It amazing historical place and building… Thanks.

  • same day agra tour by car | May 11, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Such a great place and pictures in your post. It really great. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Jade D'sa | May 30, 2017 at 12:11 am

    I love clicking pictures of churches! The beauty is simply astounding! The best I’ve ever clicked are at the Notre Dame Church in Canada. Would love to visit the ones you’ve been to in Czech Republic!

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