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Joshua | profile | all galleries >> Prague and Surrounding >> Kutna Hora and Karlstejn tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Kutna Hora and Karlstejn

Kutna Hora is located approximately 70km to the East of Prague. Traces of silver were discovered in the 10th Century but mining of silver didn't start commercially until the 13th Century. Silver mining became increasingly more important and it took the center stage there. Kutna Hora grew rapidly and for a few centuries until around 1600, it rivaled Prague economically, culturally and politically. Currently, this small town has three main attractions that we visited:

1. Sedlec Ossuary - The abbot of a small monastery in Sedlec, which now is a part of Kutna Hora, took some soil from the Mt. Calvary back after a visit to the Holy Land. He sprinkled the soil over the cemetery at the local church and it became a desirable burial place in Central Europe. The construction of the Gothic-style, newer church after the old one was destroyed by fire lead to exhumation of thousands of human remains. The bones and skeletons were cleaned and arranged as decoration of the new church. The present arrangement of the bones dates back to 1870 and was the work of a Czech wood-carver, František Rint. The ossuary contains the remains of about 40, 000 people. The largest collections of bones are arranged in the form of bells in the four corners of the chapel.

2. Church of St. Barbara - The church was mainly constructed between 1388 and 1518. As mining revenues declined, so did the construction activities. The final touches were actually completed in 1905. Its name was based on the Patron Saint of Mines as silver mining was the livelihood of many in the 14th Century in Kutna Hora. The cathedral was built around an already existing Barbara altar in an area with many Barbara altars present. It is on the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites.

3. The Italian Court (Vlašský Dvůr) with its Royal Mint - This is the location, where the famous Prague Groschens were minted. The coin represented a uniform currency of Central Europe at that time. The experts for the task were brought in from Florence, Italy, hence the name. It was originally built as a fortified castle to watch over an important trade route. In addition to the coin production, the complex contains a palace with impressive mural frescoes and a chapel with antique altars.

Karlstejn Palace
Two things were against me from the beginning. The weather was lousy and any kind of photography inside the palace was not allowed. While I understand that flash photography could be harmful to old relics and bothersome to people inside dimly lit rooms but simply no photography is just lame. Rain or even drizzle is one thing as glistening roads paved with cobble stones can lend unique characters but grey sky without any trace of blue sky... Oh, well. While we couldn't do anything to change the weather but strictly from photographical point of view, this place is not worth visiting.

The palace is located approximately 30km from Prage. It was the residence of the most notable monarchs, King Charles IV, who actually built this castle in 1348. Quite a few architectural landmarks throughout the country bear his name. I remembered seeing the living quarter of the king but the furniture is no longer the original pieces.

Thank you for visiting this gallery. Please feel free to leave any comments if you feel like it.

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Not Something You See Every Day
Not Something You See Every Day
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