kutná hora + remarkable czech churches
i’ve been meaning to go to kutná
hora to visit the creepy sedlec ossuary just as long as i’ve been living here in the czech republic, but a foot injury prevented me, and plans were put on indefinite hold after we moved from prague; in the opposite direction as
kutná hora. however, i am happy that we finally made it and spent a balmy spring day in this memorable little czech town about one hour east of prague.
day trippin’, got to get away..
first, we ended up in sedlec, a cute little village only a kilometer or two from kutná
hora, which is the sight of the famous sedlec ossuary, better known colloquially among tourists as the bone church. it’s not a big church and really didn’t take long to see, but it was an incredible sight to behold. the church contains 40,000 human skeletons, reportedly after the plague left the surrounding cemetery overflowing in the middle ages (ew, how’s that for a mental picture).
instead, the priests cleaned the bones and arranged them into a work of art to decorate the inside of the church (the outside looks pretty normal). even words are spelled out in bones, and my favorite, the coat of arms which nobody else visiting the church seemed to give any time of day to.
but the real standout is the chandelier (below) made with every bone in the human body.
although some think the bone church glorifies death, but it’s actual meaning is to remind the visitors that we all are on an equal plane before the eyes of god, both living and dead.
after joining the living, we made it to
kutná hora town and had a bite to eat and one of the sweet looking terrace restaurants in the square. this is about the time i started feeling really dizzy. i think it was from exhaustion from the full day and night before. but so tired i felt like magnets were gluing my head down to the ground, err, park bench. i can rarely recall feeling more tired during the day in my life! (travel problems)
soon after complaining about my exhaustion openly and in english, i ran into a friendly older gentleman sitting with his dogs and wife in the square. he told me about how he was an ethnically czech englishman who used to live in czech, fled to england for many years, but then returned indefinitely after the velvet revolution and resettled in
kutná hora. he said he felt there was a very strange energy to the town because there are so many tunnels running under the city center. see, it used to be the biggest mint and mining center in old bohemia so there are still old mining tunnels you can tour!
“maybe that’s why i’m feeling so faint and tired,” i said, happy that i have run into someone who understands things about energy, chakras, and things like that.
“well, there’s an ice cream stand just around the corner. get one of those and you’ll feel better.”
hmmmm. so much for my spiritual conversation.
i didn’t get an ice cream, but i perked up after stumbling upon some treasures of the town like the kamenný dům (stone house), the medieval water tank in the center of town (above), and finally… the absolutely epic st. barbara cathedral. how do you know you’ve found it? if you have to ask, you haven’t found it. but look for the “charles bridge-like” promenade.
got temporarily distracted by the luscious, green countryside and began to regret spending only a few hours in this town. the nearby hills have a strong way of beckoning you out of the man-made parts and into nature.
alright alright, back to barborka. it certainly stands out in it’s own right, but if i had to compare it, i’d say i’m getting notre dame meets hogwarts vibes. how about you?
the interior isn’t nearly as impressive as the gothic exterior, but the cathedral is definitely worth a look with one’s own eyes.
makes a fabulous day trip from prague, but make sure you’ve got more than just a couple hours to see both sedlec and
kutná hora. i could’ve used an entire day or even an overnight if i wanted to slow down the pace and have a bit more of a leisurely time. the central bohemian landscape is enchanting and was pulling me in, especially with the nice weather.
a logistical note: although certainly doable, there’s no denying it’s a beast to get around
by public transport, especially if you’re trying to tour it on a quick day trip. there are two train stations:
hlavní nádraží (central station).
(city) station, which generally only connects to regional trains, is near the town center, but hlavní nádraží, the station that connects to regional trains and prague, is waythehelloutthere; probably over an hour’s walk.