Saint Barbora’s church. The main reason why most people come to Kutna Hora. It attracts tourists from all over the world and is now a UNESCO protected building.
Kutna Hora is a small town, about 70km east of Prague. It is an easy day trip for people visiting the Czech capital and there are regular direct trains from Prague main station which take an hour to get to Kutna Hora.
About 15 minutes’ walk away from the train station (past the largest cigarette factory in Europe) you come to a small church. In 1278 a local abbot returned from the holy land and sprinkled some soil around the church. As a result, many people wanted to be buried on this sacred ground.
In 1870, a local wood carver, Frantisek Rint, was asked to ‘be creative’ with the many bones that were found around the church. The result of Rint’s work is a spectacular display of human bones from around 40,000 bodies. There is a chandelier of bones, a coat of arms (and legs) and huge bells made up of human skulls.
The amazing chandelier in the centre of the church. They claim that every bone in the human body was used in its construction.
The coat of arms of the local nobles, the Schwarzenbergs, made up of human bones.
A real skull and crossbones. I wonder what people made of it in 1870 when he completed his work.
You are welcome to leave money at the ossuary. It makes for a nice photo and keeps the staff in beer money.
I visited the bone church (for about the tenth time) in February 2010 – in the middle of a very serious winter. Some enterprising people had made a superb skull out of snow. Click on the image to get a better idea of its size.
The centre of Kutna Hora is an attractive square with some very normal shops, restaurants and some souvenir shops. It is a pleasant change from the raw capitalism in Prague.
Sadly cars can still park in the middle of the town. How much nicer it would be if they weren’t there.
My favourite restaurant in Kutna Hora – Dacicky restaurant. Wood panels, a big log fire, great food and friendly service.
A plate of gulas and dumplings with raw onions at Dacicky. Very tasty though perhaps not the healthiest food on the planet.
Kutna Hora was particularly rich in the Middle Ages thanks to the silver mines in the town. It is possible to visit the mines – you don a white protective coat and hard hat and walk through the town and into an old mine. In the picture above you can see the black church (Kutna Hora is full of churches) which, in any other town would be a popular tourist destination. However with the weirdly wonderful bone church and the stunningly beautiful Saint Barbora, people tend to walk past the black church on their way to the other churches.
This is Italian court which was once the mint of the town. The building now houses the town hall of Kutna Hora.
And finally – the superb flying buttresses of Svaty Barbora church. Construction of the church began in 1388 though wasn’t actually finished until 1905.
Kutna Hora – Practical information How to get there
Most people arrive from Prague and the easiest way to travel is by train. It currently (April 2010) costs 97 crowns. If travelling in a group (of 2 or more people) you qualify for a group discount – ask for a ‘skupina jizdenka’. If you are travelling with luggage, you can leave your luggage at the station (for 15 crowns per bag). Ask the person selling the tickets. They don’t speak English but will understand what you want. To check out the timetable, click here. Make sure you get a fast train (R) not a slow train (Os).
Travelling around Kutna Hora
The bone church is a 15 minute walk from the station and is not difficult to find. Turn right out the the station then left onto the main round into town. Walk past Philip Morris and you will see a sign pointing to the right to the bone church (ossuary). From the bone church to the centre of town, there is a bus run by the people in the bone church. They can drop you anywhere you want in town and the price when I last took it, summer 2009, was 35 crowns. The walk into town is not a difficult one – just a bit boring. You can take a train from the centre of Kutna Hora (Kutna Hora mesto) which will take you back to the main station. These trains normally link up with the fast trains back to Prague but check the timetables. The train approaches the station and then turns away to the right. Don’t panic. After about a hundred metres, the train stops, and reverses back to the main station.
Places to eat
My favourite is Dacicky, in the centre of town. Serving very good, hearty meals (the Czech word is Kaloriebomba) and the prices are reasonable if you go for the ‘menu’
A cheap and cheerful place with a nice breakfast is U Katu. It is not far from the centre and is both clean and safe – just some pretty strange paintings on the wall…
More websites about Kutna Hora.
More about the bone church.
More about Kutna Hora from UNESCO.
More of the Czech Republic?
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