Kutná Hora, the silver treasury and a true gem of the country, was present at the very start of the boom in the Czech Kingdom. Architectural styles, unique buildings from various historical periods and a long history full of wine making. This is precisely what you will find in Kutná Hora, a city whose historical centre with the Cathedral of St. Barbara and Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary have been included in the UNESCO world heritage list.
The turning point in the town’s history came in 1300 when King Wenceslas II (1278-1305) issued the new royal mining code IUS REGALE MONTANORUM, a legal document of extreme importance that specified all administrative as well as technical terms and conditions necessary for the operation of mines. The new legal position of the agglomeration was supported by a number of privileges granted by kings of the Luxembourg dynasty, which gradually transformed the chaotic cluster of miner’s huts into the second most important town of the kingdom.
Shortly after 1300, Kutná Hora also became the seat of the central mint of the Czech lands, which was located in a small royal castle later called the Italian Court as a remembrance of Italian experts assisting with the planning and application of the minting reform. Mining of silver stood at one end of the manufacturing cycle, striking of silver coins (the so-called Prague Groschen and their parts – parvi) at the other one. Kutná Hora became the financial centre of the country.
The Cathedral of St. Barbara
This unique work of high and late Gothic architecture symbolises the power and importance of the mining city, which is linked to deposits of silver ore. The cathedral is consecrated to none other than the patron saint of all miners, St. Barbara. Construction of this architectural gem took five hundred long years. The appearance of the monumental cathedral is the work of Matyáš Rejsek and Benedikt Ried. The interior will enchant you with its late Gothic and Renaissance paintings and there is no denying the mining past of the city even here. The slim elegant pillars are complemented by fresco work decorating the chapel, in which motifs inspired by mining and minting of coins also appear.
The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary
There is a good reason why the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is known as the Cathedral of Light. The massive windows were unprecedented in Bohemia at their time. This architectural gem combines the Cistercian emphasis on space and poverty and the Gothic majesty of a cathedral. The whole building is illuminated every minute of the day by the sunlight and carried to ethereal heights. The originally Gothic church, which was burned to the ground in the 15th century, was converted into a cathedral in the style of the Baroque Gothic by the eminent Czech architect Jan Blažej Santini.
The Wallachian Court
The Wallachian Court became the centre of economic events, seat of the rulers and the royal mint, in which the first groschen were already being minted under the reign of Wenceslas II, who called in experts to Kutná Hora from the Italian city of Florence and started a currency reform. Apart from the exhibition of minting coins, you can also visit the “Museum of Uncovering of the Mysterious Face”, where you will get to know criminals, witches, heretics and arsonists in the cellars of the Wallachian Court as well as their judges and executioners.