Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

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As much as I adored Prague, I was eager to make a day trip out of town to explore a bit more of the Czech Republic.

We decided to visit the sleepy Bohemian town of Kutná Hora, as it was only a short bus ride from Prague and could easily be seen in an afternoon. Not only that, but Kutná Hora sounded really interesting too!

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The church of St. James is a defining landmark in Kutná Hora.

Getting to Know Kutná Hora

Kutná Hora was founded in 1142 and went on to become the second richest city in the Kingdom of Bohemia.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

Below the town lies miles of exhausted silver mines, which in their prime, helped Kutná Hora compete economically and politically with Prague. Bohemia’s Royal Mint was here, converting Kutná Hora’s silver into coins that were used all over central Europe.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

Eventually the mines were depleted, some flooded, and the town that once was a favourite residence of Bohemian kings, quickly dwindled.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

Kutná Hora was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1995 because of its significance in human history.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

The Church of St. James was completed in 1420 and is the oldest church in Kutná Hora.

Day Trip to Kutná Hora- What to See and Do

The first thing I noticed about Kutná Hora, was the peacefulness. The slower pace and quiet atmosphere was a welcome reprieve from the crowds of Prague.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

Friendly dog saying hello.

Soon I became enamored with the city’s historic architecture. We wandered past many beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque townhouses. We even came across a unique stone fountain built in the 15th century.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

This twelve sided fountain was built in 1497 and supplied water to Kutná Hora. Water was transported through wooden pipes from a well four kilometers away.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

Stone House

By the end of our visit we were amazed at how much there actually was to see and do in Kutná Hora. We didn’t get to experience everything this small city has to offer, but here’s a look at the few things we managed to see during our day trip to Kutná Hora.

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St. Barbara’s Cathedral

The Church of St. Barbara is the jewel of Kutná Hora. Dedicated to the patron saint of miners, St. Barbara, this Gothic masterpiece symbolizes the importance of mining in the once powerful Kutná Hora.

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The interior of St. Barbara’s Church is decorated with frescoes depicting life in Kutná Hora during medieval times. Motifs of mining and minting of coins frequently appear in the church’s decoration.

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While I appreciated the glimpses into secular life, my favourite part of the church was the ceiling. Staring up, its design looks like a row of huge flowers!

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It’s not unusual for churches of this size and time period to have taken many years to build. St. Barbara’s church was no different. Construction began in 1388 but wasn’t completed until 1905, lasting over 500 years! The Hussite Wars and lack of financial resources are to blame for the cathedral’s slow construction.

The Italian Court (Royal Mint)

The Italian Court is a palace that served many functions during its history. Initially, it served as a town castle, helping fortify the city and safely store silver ore.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

During the reign of King Wenceslas II, minting experts from the Italian city of Florence were called in to start a currency reform. The Royal Mint was established in the now aptly named Italian Court and Prague Groschen coins started being produced.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

The palace also served as a temporary royal residence. This is where the King would stay when he was visiting Kutná Hora.

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

The assembly room of the Royal Palace.

Today, the Italian Court is a museum dedicated to coin minting. There’s an extensive collection of Kutná Hora coins and exhibits that re-create working conditions. We learned that workers were expected to make 2,000 coins a day, by hammering designs into round silver pieces. Many of the workers went deaf from all the hammering noise!

Sedlec Ossuary

Just outside of Kutná Hora, in Sedlec, is a world-renowned ossuary famous for its bizarre, yet artistic, arrangement of human bones. The chilling decorations made from 40,000 skeletons include a chandelier and coat of arms. It was such a fascinating place, that I wrote an entire post about this Bone Church. Definitely the highlight of our day trip to Kutná Hora!

travelyesplease.com | Day Trip to Kutna Hora, Czech Republic- Getting to Know the City of Silver

Final Thoughts About Our Visit to Kutná Hora

Kutná Hora was definitely worth visiting as a side trip from Prague. The Bone Church alone made the journey worthwhile, as it was the most unique attraction we visited during our five weeks in Europe. Overall, we had a lovely time during our tour of Kutná Hora and appreciated getting to learn more about the Czech Republic in a place that wasn’t overrun with tourists.

Tips for Visiting Kutná Hora

  • Kutná Hora is a one hour drive east of Prague.
  • There are plenty of tour companies offering day trips to Kutná Hora from Prague. Alternatively, you can take the train from Prague Main Station. Trains arrive outside of town, near Sedlec (which is handy for visiting the Bone Church). From there you can take a bus to the town centre.
  • Hours for St. Barbara’s Cathedral are as follows: April-October 9:00am-6:00 pm, November-February 9:00am-4:00pm, March 10:00am-5:00pm. Admission for adults is 60 CZK, children and students are 40 CZK.
  • Entrance to the Italian Court is by guided tour only. Hours for the Italian Court are as follows: April-September 9:00om-6:00pm, November-February 10:00am-4:00pm, October and March 10:00am-5:00pm.
  • For information on visiting the Bone Church, see my post about the Sedlec Ossuary.
  • Another point of interest that we didn’t have a chance to see, is the Czech Museum of Silver. Here you can learn about the history of Kutná Hora and the silver mining process.

Information was correct at the time of publishing but can change without notice. Please confirm directly with service providers.

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  • Frank - Nice post guys. We’re in Prague right now and Kutna Hora is on the list for the next couple of weeks. Tried not looking at the photos (I try not looking at photos of a place I’m going to) but enjoyed the read. As you say, there’s more to the Czech Republic than Prague and we’ve got a bunch of small towns on the list – a chance to get away from all those young drunk partiers in the capital!
    Frank (bbqboy)July 13, 2014 – 11:34 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Sounds like you’ll have a lot of time to explore the country! I would like to go back because we didn’t have enough time to see all the places I wanted to visit. I also like to escape to the smaller towns and get away from the busyness of the big cities. Enjoy the rest of your trip and I look forward to reading about your adventures when you return!July 14, 2014 – 11:49 amReplyCancel

  • Frank - Hey Guys! Well, we had our outing to Kutna Hora. Loved the town. And it is definitely worth seeing – amazing that you can leave Prague and suddenly see so few tourists (in Kutna Hora itself. Lots at Sedlec). And the Cathedral is stupendous and a much more pleasurable experience to visit than St. Vitus in Prague. No tourist hordes. I really think the place is a must see.

    First time I looked at your post I tried not looking at the photos because we were going ourselves. I revisited your post and its funny how we ended up with very similar photos (the weather being slightly different).

    Anyway, always fun reading similar experiences!
    Frank (bbqboy)September 15, 2014 – 8:02 amReplyCancel

  • Nobuny - It’s first time for me to see the name of Kutna Hora.
    Prague seems to be full of tourists and this city nearby sounds a good alternative to stay.
    Hope there’s a cheap and cozy lodging over there.March 19, 2015 – 12:52 amReplyCancel

    • Rhonda Krause - Yes, Kutna Hora was much less crowded than Prague. It was quite peaceful, actually. I’m not sure what they have for accommodations, since we only did a day trip, but I’m sure there would be something nice!March 19, 2015 – 7:58 pmReplyCancel

  • KB Gamblin - Tbh, I’ve never heard of Kutná Hora, but am now dying to go! The architecture and history are absolutely swoon worthy. Thanks for sharing! March 20, 2019 – 8:30 amReplyCancel

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