A Trip to Kutná Hora

September 29, 2012 at 6:27 am
By Carlton

Friday, September 28th

Our first stop in Kutná Hora was Sedlec Ossuary. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Black Death and the Hussite Wars gave Kutná Hora far more corpses than it had places to put them. The ossuary, a small Roman Catholic chapel under a church in the cemetery, was the solution to that problem. A half-blind monk started stacking bones there after 1511, and in 1870 the bones were arranged into decorations by a woodcarver named František Rint. It's estimated that the ossuary contains bones from the skeletons of 40,000 to 70,000 people.

Sedlec Sidewalk

Bone Cross

Bone Chalice

Bone Letters

Bone Pile

Bone Icon

Coat of Arms in Bone

Bone Crown

Bone Torture

Skull Decor

Bone Chandelier

Our next stop was the much-less-creepy-but-much-lengthier-titled Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and John the Baptist. The church is an example of baroque architecture.

Cathedral of Our Lady

Cathedral of Our Lady Interior

Cathedral of Our Lady Altar

We were then dropped off down town, where we were allowed to wander around for a while. These interesting characters could also be seen wandering around town.

Kutna Hora Guards

Kutna Hora House

Kutna Hora Arches

On the left is Saint Barbara's Church, while on the right is the Jesuit college.

St. Barbara and Jesuit College

Building, Barbara, and Jesuit

Kutna Hora Alley

The building with the large tower is the Church of Saint James.

Kutna Hora St. James

The Road to St. Barbara

St. Barbara

After a couple hours of wandering, it was time to tour the silver mine. Silver mining, which had begun in Kutná Hora by 1260, played an important role in the town's history. In fact, the Kutná in Kutná Hora might have been derived from the old Czech word for mining, kutáni. If so, the town's name means Mining Mountain. (Another possibility is that Kutná was derived from kutten, the word for the hoods the town's monks wore.) To venture into the silver mine, we had to don smocks, hard hats, and lanterns.

Elsa and Elizabeth, the Miners

We then had to take a short through town to reach the mine. Kelsey thought our parade was the perfect opportunity to practice her queen wave.

Kelsey the Miner

Michael, Polly, and Jake, Miners

Inside the mine, Bettina tested her light to make sure it worked.

Bettina in the Mine

At times, the passage through the mine was a bit narrow.

Jake in the Mine

After sitting in complete darkness, squeezing through narrow passages, and bumping our heads against the ceiling a few times, we were in the daylight once again.

Leaving the Mine

As far as we know, no one was left behind.

Group Pic at the Mine

After touring the silver mine, we had time to explore the art gallery now housed in the Jesuit college. Pictures weren't allowed in the gallery, but that's just one more reason for you to visit for yourself. After the gallery, our final stop was inside Saint Barbara's Church. This late Gothic church features lots of columns, lots of stained glass, and lots of gold.

Inside St. Barbara

St. Barbara Stained Glass 1

St. Barbara Stained Glass 2

St. Barbara Stained Glass 3

The church also features a statute of a miner, which make sense given that Saint Barbara was the patron saint of miners.

Miner of St. Barbara