Frankly, I find it a bit difficult to fathom how such a beautiful church was almost abandoned for such a long time. Sure, the plans were initially made and construction started when Kutna Hora was still in its heyday, when the mines were still producing lots of silver and the city was very wealthy.
Bear in mind that city sources say that a roof was not actually placed on the structure until 1547! That part i just find very difficult to believe. The church, or what was completed of it, was open to the elements for nearly two hundred years? Amazing
The first major cause for the delay in construction was the outbreak of the Hussite Wars in Bohemia. These pitted the followers of church reformer Jan Hus against the Catholic Church and its allies. A conflict that deeply divided Czech society, this took place from 1419 to 1434. By the time the Austrian Hapsburgs took over the Czech throne in 1526, Kutna Hora's source of wealth had begun to decline quickly.
I was struck by the contrast between the outside and inside of the church. If you look at all the flying buttresses and exterior of the church you might be led to expect a much more ornate and sumptuous interior. To me the interior was elegant, but it had a simplicity about it, though much of that simplicity was most likely due to shortage of funds. If you look closely, you will be able to see the subtle changes in artistic styles, though in some places it isn't subtle at all.
'Memento mori', a reminder of mortality...
After five minutes in this church, we started to see all the bones and skulls not as a human remains but art. Different, unusual, weird but art.
Kutna Hora is offering much more than just a bone church, but bone church is definitely 'must see'.
The Ossuary is open daily except 24th and 25th of December
November – February: 9am – 4pm
April – September: 8am – 6pm (9am – 6pm on Sundays)
October & March: 9am – 5pm
Adults 60 CZK
Ossuary (from Late Latin 'ossu¨¡rium', from Latin 'os' - bone) - a place or receptacle for the bones of the dead.
It's not easy to feel yourself like in the church there. It's a weirdest place we've ever seen....
Have to mention that the present arrangement of the bones is pretty modern, it dates from 1870 and is the work of a Czech wood-carver, F.Rint.
The Sedlec Ossuary is a Gothic church which was built in the center of the cemetery around 1400. It is very small and very famous Roman Catholic chapel.
'After 1511, the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was given to a half-blind monk of the order...'
Artistically arrange bones as a decoration and furnishing... Who would ever think about it?!
The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, mostly victims of plague In the mid 14th century and the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century.
The ossuary is the most visited tourist attractions of the Czech Republic.
Inside of this fascinating cathedral you will find amazing stained glass windows, medieval frescoes and late Gothic and Renaissance paintings.
Decoration have connection to mining history of the town:there are pictures of miners and there is even a statue of a miner, - as the church owed its wealth to the silver industry. The ceiling murals include depictions of the miner's guild coat of arms.
Organ concerts are organised in the Church of Saint Barbara.
May - September from 9am to 6pm,
the rest of the year from 9am to 4.30pm.
Monday: open from 10am to 4.30pm and on winter Mondays (November thru March) it will be closed.
Admission is Czk 60.00 for adults
This fascinating church is one of the most famous Gothic churches in central Europe.
St Barbara was very special for the town because she is the patron saint of miners.
Construction began in 1388 but due of numerous interruptions (some of them was as long as 60 years!) completed only in 1905.
There are 8 radial chapels with trapezoidal interiors and the choir supported by double-arched flying buttresses.
Santini respected its original 5-stage disposition of a cathedral basilica with three-stage transept. He added a new west front.
70 years after the reconstruction the monastery was abolished and the cathedral deconsecrated and used temporarily as a flour storage.
This beautiful Gothic Church with the huge 86 m tall tower with two bells (Jacob and Maria) was built in the 14th century. It is the oldest church in town. Unfortunately it soon burnt down but in the 15th century was built again.
The interior combines Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque artifacts.
It is a defining landmark on the Kutná Hora skyline.
June - September
Sunday at 9 a.m.
Mon., Wed., Fri. at 6 p.m.
Adults 40 CZK
Children, students 20 CZK
The first written reference of the Hrádek castle dates from 1312. At the end of the 15th century this Gothic building was transformed into a sumptuous patrician residence.
Now it's Czech museum of silver which shows the history of Kutná hora and the other focuses on silver mining, ore processing, and the life of the miners.
Expect to spend 2.5 hours there.
daily except Mondays
April and October: 9:00 – 17:00
May, June and September: 9:00 – 18:00
July and August: 10:00 – 18:00
closed from November to March
(Last entry 90 min before the closing time.)
Tour I – The Silver Town: adults CZK 90, reduced CZK 60
Tour II – The Silver Path: adults CZK 140, reduced CZK 100
Tours I + II: adults CZK 160, reduced CZK 110
Children admitted to mine from age 7.
Foreign language tour:
400 CZK per group
The Late Gothic four meters tall stone fountain on Rejsek Square was built in 1493 by architect M.Rejsek. Originally it had a hexagonal roof. Water was brought in through wooden pipes from a well 4 kilometers away.
Discover the beauty of the Baroque Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, designed by master architect Jan Santini. This place is calm and quiet as if time had stopped away from reality... The ceiling is way above our heads and it's pleasure to look how heaps of sunlight brighten the massive hallowed building.
Church of the Assumption of Our Lady was built between 1282 and 1320 as a part of Cistercian monastery in Sedlec and was the most magnificent church in the Kingdom of Bohemia at the time. On 21 Apr. 1421, the monastery and the church were seized by Hussite troops and burnt to the ground and were not renovated until the early 18th century. The Czech Baroque architect Jan Santini rebuilt the monastery in the unique Baroque Gothic style.
If you plan to visit the Sedlec Ossuary take the short walk to the cathedral.
Apr. - Oct.: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(Sunday 12 noon - 5 p.m.)
Nov. - Mar.: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed on Great Friday, White Saturday, and Dec. 24 - 25 (mass only)
One of the beautiful things in Gothic cathedrals is the use of light. Of course, the use of stained glass windows can be a breathtaking spectacle, like at St Chapelle in Paris. The stained glass windows at St Barbara's were impressive, but probably don't compare with St Vitus in Prague. Still gorgeous all the same. Some of the windows depict miners at work.
Interestingly, the stained glass windows have a different look about them. Rightly so, they were designed by František Urban, a Czech painter who specialized in church decorations, in the early 20th century.
The beautiful carved altarpiece at St Barbara's.
These reredo type altarpieces were popular in the 15th century and are particularly associated with Belgian/Dutch and German artists. Certainly one of the major altarpieces in the region would be the masterpiece by Veit Stoss at the St Mary's Church in Krakow, though that one is far larger. Still, these altarpieces are dramatically smaller than say the Spanish altarpieces. Further the side panels are on hinges, making a clearer separation
St Barbara's Church (Chrám svaté Barbory) is the stunning Gothic church in Kutna Hora, just outside Prague. Interestingly, it has something in common with the equally beautiful St Vitus in Prague Castle. That is that both took an enormously long time to finish! After all, St Vitus was started earlier (1344) and finished after St Barbara (1927).
However, the similarities with St Vitus do not end there. Both churches were the work (at least in part) of Peter Parler, the German architect and mason. Jan Parler, son of Peter, moved to Kutna Hora and was the first architect of St Barbara's.
St Barbara's was started in 1388 at a time when Kutna Hora was already an important city in the Czech lands, equal in many ways to Prague. Its wealth and power was derived from the thriving silver mines. By the 13th century German immigrants had set up the mines that gave rise to this wealth.
The church is dedicated to St Barbara, the Greek martyr, who was thought to have lived in the 3rd century. Curiously, St Barbara is venerated by the Eastern churches. Her martyrdom is disputed by the Western churches. Still, she is generally venerated as the patron saint of miners, hence the naming of this church.
The construction of the church was delayed for over 500 years, partly because of changing political situation within the country, but more than anything else because the funding for such construction was entirely dependent on the success of the mines, which by then had ceased to be as productive.
As huge as this church looks, one can only imagine if they had stuck to the original plans, which called for an edifice about twice the size of the one we see today.