What's Up?

Exploring Kutná Hora

24 July, 2017

Exploring the Czech Republic this summer? Consider travelling to Kutná Hora, one of the countries most visited cities and home to the infamous "Bone Church." Read more about it below!

Just a quick hour train ride from Prague lies Kutná Hora, one of the most unique and fascinating cities in the Czech Republic. Kutná Hora began in 1142 with the settlement of the first Cistercian monastery in Bohemia, and has continued to grow in glory, as the city center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

The city rests on a hill, with St. Barbara’s Church and the Jesuit College being the peak. St. Barbara’s Church, or Chrám svaté Barbory in Czech, is one of the most famous churches in Europe because of its unique Gothic architecture. Construction of the church began in 1388, however the church was not completely finished until 1905, leaving almost a 500 year-long gap between the beginning of construction and the end. The wait was worth it, though, because the cathedral is mesmerizing inside and out.

Along with St. Barbara’s Church, there are several others that worth venturing in. Cathedral of the Assumption of our Lady at Sedlec was also a part of the former Cistercian monastery; it was established by King Wenceslas II in the early 1300’s. The church was burnt down by the Hussites in 1421 and was not renovated until the early 18th century. Another church with arguably the best view of St. Barbara’s Church is the Church of St. James. Construction of the Church of St. James began in 1330 and was completed by 1420, making it the oldest church in the city.

Although the other churches in the city are beautiful, there is nothing quite like the Ossuary at Sedlec, also known as the Bone Church.  The Ossuary is located underground in the chapel of the Church of All Saints. The church is famously known for containing the bones of 40,000 people who died of the plague in 1318 and people who died in the war with the Hussites in the 15th century. Many of these bodies were originally buried at the church cemetery, but they were later transferred to the chapel and compiled into pyramids after the closing of the cemetery at the end of the 15th century. In 1870, the bones were reorganized by František Rint of Česká Skalice into decorations that included bells, a chandelier, and the Schwarzenberg coat-of-arms.

Being so close to the city of Prague, the trip to Kutná Hora can easily be made in an afternoon and is well worth the travel.