Kutná Hora is home to The Bone Church, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage City, with a few World Heritage Sites. While researching which cities to visit during my Fall European Tour, I came across a piece on The Bone Church, located just outside of Prague. My thoughts were if I’m in Prague a church full of bones is not to be missed. And, since we were going to be in Prague on October 31st, what better day to visit than on Halloween.
There were several options available to see the church. I settled on a tour of the town o Kutná Hora. It was easier to do the tour, versus public transportation which involved a few transfers between the train and bus, which I was 100% not up for.
I boarded a small mini tour bus, with our tour guide, who I swear sounded just like Borat. Which was hilarious!! On the drive out, he shared with us tidbits about the history of the city, which was cool. I enjoy getting out of the city. It gives me the opportunity to see a part of the country I may not have seen otherwise.
When we arrived at the church, I learned it served as a cemetery as well. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I like to visit cemeteries, especially those that are old or ornamental. The church is a small Roman Catholic chapel, and beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints is the Kostnice Ossuary. It is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have been artistically arranged to form decorations, candelabras, chandeliers, chalices, and a coat of arms. It was crazy but intriguing. There were bones, bones, everywhere!
The tour continued into the city of Kutná Hora. I’m glad I decided to include the city as opposed to just going to the church and ossuary. The travel time from Prague to Kutná Hora was about an hour. I could not justify traveling that far for only one attraction when there were several others in proximity. Though seeing something as unique as The Bone Church in person is a unique experience in itself, I’m glad I got to see more of the town.
Our next stop was the Italian Court. The Italian Court received its name in honor of specialists from Florence Italy as the forefront of minting reform. The Italian Court was the center of the economic power of the country for centuries. Mined silver ore was stored here from the end of the 13th century. During the 13th and 14th centuries, Kutná Hora accounted for ⅓ of the European production of silver. Thanks to the riches of the silver mines, Kutná Hora was the second most important town in the kingdom, competing directly with Prague. The mint closed down in 1727.
From The Italian Court, we strolled the small cobblestoned streets to The Church of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners. Our walk to the cathedral-styled church took us through the old town center. The walkway leading to The Church is lined with statues reminiscent of Saint Charles bridge in Prague, and takes you past the Gallery of the Central Bohemian Region, and the Baroque Jesuit College.
Construction of the church started in 1388. I always find it amazing how they were able to build something so beautiful with such detail during this time period, when it seems the only thing we can build today are metal and glass monstrosities.
So, there you have it, my day in Kutná Hora. Considering that I started out just wanting to see the bones, the day was full of pleasant surprises. I will have to sum this up as the most unusual thing that I’ve ever seen while traveling. What is the most unusual thing you seen?