Kutná Hora is a city that got rich on the back of its silver mines. This prosperity can be glimpsed in some of the grand buildings that were constructed during boom times in the Middle Ages. Explore these magnificent structures, venture down into a silver mine and see where silver coins used to be minted hundreds of years ago.
Kutná Hora’s golden age of silver production was during the 14th and 15th centuries. Silver was extracted from miles of now abandoned mines that run under the city. But they haven’t all been deserted. Explore a small section of a mine shaft when you visit Hrádek,a 15th-century castle now home to theCzech Museum of Silver. Put on a miner’s helmet and let your guide lead you through an 820-feet (250-meter) section.
There are lots of reminders of the city’s mining heritage at the Church of St. Barbara. Inside are examples of mining-inspired artwork, including statues and depictions of mining work on stained-glass windows.
Some of the mined silver went into the production of silver coins, including Czech groschen, one of Europe’s most widely circulated coins during the Middle Ages. Sightsee the Italian Court, the former home of the Royal Mint where silver coins were produced. This old building also served as a residence for kings. Among its highlights is the royal chapel.
Next door to Kutná Hora is the town of Sedlec, where you will find one of the country’s most unusual sights, Kostnice, or the Bone Church. This subterranean chapel is adorned with art and objects made from human bones, including candle holders, candelabras and a chandelier. While you are in Sedlec, tour the 14th-century Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist.
Situated just 46 miles (74 kilometers) east of Prague, Kutná Hora is a popular daytrip destination from the capital. To get here, drive or take the bus from Prague's Florenc bus station. The beautiful old buildings, rich history and compelling attractions may persuade you to stay for longer.