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As much as I adored Prague, I was eager to make a side trip out of the city to explore a bit more of the Czech Republic.
We decided to do a day trip to Kutná Hora, a sleepy Bohemian town that’s only a short bus ride from Prague. Not only were there several things to do in Kutná Hora that could easily be enjoyed in an afternoon, but the history of Kutná Hora sounded really interesting too!
Before we share what to see in Kutná Hora on day trip, here’s a brief background of this historically important town.
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.
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.
Eventually the mines were depleted, some flooded, and the town that once was a favourite residence of Bohemian kings, quickly dwindled.
Kutná Hora was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1995 because of its significance in human history.
Kutná Hora Day Trip- What to See and Do in Kutná Hora
We decided to do a walking tour of Kutná Hora so that we could learn about the town’s history and make the most of our day trip.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The palace also served as a temporary royal residence. This is where the King would stay when he was visiting Kutná Hora.
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!
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!
Final Thoughts About Our Kutná Hora Tour- Was Kutná Hora Worth Visiting?
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.
Even though I usually prefer to explore independently, I’m glad we decided to join a day tour of Kutná Hora because we truly knew nothing about the city, hadn’t even head about it until we got to Prague. This way we could be sure to see Kutná Hora’s best attractions and hear some interesting stories too.
Overall, we had a lovely time during our Kutná Hora day trip and appreciated getting to learn more about the Czech Republic in a place that wasn’t overrun with tourists.
Tips for Visiting Kutná Hora
Location: Kutná Hora is a one hour drive east of Prague.
Getting to Kutná Hora from Prague: There are plenty of tour companies offering day trips to Kutná Hora from Prague (more on that below). 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.
St. Barbara’s Cathedral: Hours for St. Barbara’s Cathedral are April- October 9:00 am- 6:00 pm, November- December 10:00 am- 5:00 pm, January-February 10:oo am- 4:00 pm, March 10:00 am- 5:00 pm. The church is closed on December 24 and has some changes to the operating hours during the Christmas season.
- For current admission fees and hours, see here.
Italian Court: Entrance to the Italian Court is by guided tour only. Hours for the Italian Court are April- September 9:00 am- 6:00 pm, November- February 10:00 am- 4:00 pm, March and October 10:00 am- 5:00 pm.
- For current admission fees and hours, see here.
Bone Church: For information about visiting the Bone Church, see my post about the Sedlec Ossuary.
More Places to See in Kutná Hora: Another attraction in Kutná Hora 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 updated December 2019, but can change without notice. Please confirm directly with service providers.
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