|Saint Barbara Cathedral and the Jesuit College in Kutná Hora|
My story isn't about economic strategies, servers, tobacco, or silver, though. I'm going to show you the enchanting medieval buildings and one spooky, creepy church which earned Kutná Hora its UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1994.
|St. Barbara Cathedral|
The Gothic St. Barbara's Cathedral dates back to 1388 when the town's silver miners wanted a church to honor their patron saint of miners. Master builders and artists from Prague participated in the design and construction of this cathedral and its notable frescoes.
|Trompe l'oeil frescoes at Saint Barbara Cathedral|
|Miner statue (that's what miners actually wore) in Saint Barbara Cathedral|
|Three side altars at Saint Barbara Cathedral|
This stone fountain from 1497 (below) is actually a twelve-sided structure built to cover a water tank. Clean water was difficult to provide to citizens in a mining town, so a system of pipes bring water to the town where it is stored in tanks. A clever architect named Rejsek who had been working on the cathedral built this fancy cover. It's unique in this part of Europe. Notice the date: where the '4' should be there is a fish standing on its tail. This is actually half of an '8' which is how medieval folks sometimes notated the number '4'.
|Medieval water tank in Kutná Hora|
|Part of The Italian Court, where coins were minted|
Kutná Hora lost thousands of citizens in wars and plagues, and this colossal Plague Column was erected in the town square in 1716 as an entreaty to God to end that year's plague.
|The Plague column, 1716|
I'm saving for last the Sedlec Bone Church. It's about a mile from the center of Kutna Hora. This church, really a chapel, was attached to a Cistercian monastery founded by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Remember I mentioned the human beings lost to wars and plagues? Those people all wanted to be buried in the All Saints Cemetery here because, as the story goes, an abbott attached to the monastery brought back a handful of dirt from Jesus's grave in Jerusalem and sprinkled it over the cemetery. (You could say people were just dying to get in.) The common practice in popular cemeteries in some parts of Europe was to remove skeletons from the graves once the descendants are no longer around. The bones are stored in some kind of warehouse. Kutná Hora had accumulated 40,000 skeletons from the wars and plagues, and they found a very clever way to use them...to decorate the Sedlec Church!
|This chandelier uses every bone in the human body.|
|Real bones. (Sanitized.)|
|...And the artists signed their names in bones! (Don't miss the bones stacked up on the left.)|
As you might expect, this was the creepiest place I've ever been: dark and chilly with human bones everywhere!