One of the places I visited while in Prague was Kutna Hora. The reason I wanted to visit was to see its famous macabre Bone Church. But once there, I discovered that the entire town has a rich history worth discovering.
Kutna Hora was the second most important town in Bohemia next to Prague. Silver was mined there and it became the seat of the central mint of the Czech lands. After silver was mined out, the town slowly fell into disrepair. The past centuries of conflict left the town neglected until its being added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, which insures the towns protection and preservation.
Kutna Hora is about an hour and a half drive east of Prague. It now consists mostly of vacation homes and hostels for travelers. I was there only for a half-day trip but I think it is worth staying a night and spending a full day exploring.
SEDLEC OSSUARY or THE BONE CHURCH
|The Schwarzenberg Family Crest, Sedlec Ossuary|
This chapel is really small and I can see how it can become really crowded really fast. It was not crowded on the Tuesday afternoon we went (September 24, for your reference). Though I was looking forward to seeing this chapel, I still thought I might be creeped out. It ended up not as creepy as I anticipated, but there were definitely a lot of bones. I would avoid going to the chapel with a tour that gives you only 15 minutes here. I think you need at least half an hour here to appreciate all its details and surroundings.
St. Barbara's cathedral was built by the son of the architect that build the cathedral in Prague. Our guide told us that the difference between a church and a cathedral is: the altar is against the wall in a church while you can walk around and behind the altar in a cathedral. I can't believe I never had that clear even through all my art history courses. This cathedral is dedicated to Saint Barbara, who is the patron saint of those who have hazardous jobs. For a mining town, that makes a lot of sense.
THE ITALIAN COURT
|Old Medieval "Ruthadka" street that leads through the town to the Italian Court.|
View of St. Jame's Church
|A corner of the Italian Court|
The Italian Court is the name of the royal mint back in the day. It then transitioned to a school in the past century and now a museum. There are displays of minting paraphernalia, a meeting room, and chapel inside the circular building that encloses a courtyard. I thought this place not the most interesting and the guide had a sing-song English that I could not make out half of what she was saying.
|A Random Street|
A town that looks like this on every corner is always worth exploring on foot!