Prague 2023 (III): visiting Kutná Hora

We continue our tour of Prague. But this morning it’s time for an excursion. We are going to Kutná Hora, a small town 80 km east of Prague.

February 27th

We get up very early and go to the main train station in Prague.

We arrive at the station around 7.30 and buy our return ticket. It is valid for the next two days. The price is 247 CZK (10.50€).

Billete a Kutná Hora
Ticket to Kutná Hora

We locate our platform and catch the 8.06 train, which leaves on time. We thought they might be like the ones in Romania, in a rather deplorable state. But no, trains in very good condition, more or less like those in Spain.

Train to Kutná Hora

The scenery along the way was quite spectacular, especially the snow-covered countryside.

50 minutes later we arrived at Kutná Hora’s main station, Kutná Hora hl.n. There are two other stations in the city but this is the one with the fastest trains. It is a bit far from the city, but has good bus connections.

But as we were interested in visiting the Sedlec Ossuary first, we went on foot, as it is only a 15-minute walk away. It is only a 15-minute walk away.

A little before, there is the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist, which we will talk about later.

We arrived at the tourist office, very close to the ossuary while it was still snowing.

The girl at the information office was very nice and helpful. We have to say that we were the only tourists there.

There we bought the tourist pass which cost us 320 CZK (13.69€). The pass allows us to enter the Sedlec Ossuary, the Church of the Assumption and the Church of St. Barbara. Separately it would be 420 CZK. It pays off.

After buying the tickets we go in search of something for breakfast. That part of the city seemed to be dead, so we went into a grocery shop. We buy some biscuits and that’s it.

We head for the ossuary as we go along.

Kostnice Sedlec, the Sedlec Ossuary is an underground chapel in the All Saints’ Cemetery. It was originally part of the Cistercian abbey in Sedlec, founded in 1142 by Miroslav of Markvartic. It was the oldest in Bohemia.

The All Saints’ Church was built in the 14th century in the High Gothic style.

Kostnice Sedlec, the Sedlec Ossuary

According to legend, one of the local abbots was sent by the Czech king to Jerusalem around 1278. The abbot brought a handful of soil from Golgotha and scattered it over the cemetery in Sedlec.

The cemetery was considerably expanded during the great epidemics of the 14th century, where 30,000 bodies were buried.

After the abolition of the cemetery at the end of the 15th century, the exhumed bones were stored outside and inside the underground chapel. In 1511 a half-blind monk from Sedlec assembled them into large pyramids.

In 1870, the Schwarzenberg family hired the woodcarver František Rint to put the bones in order. He is the author of the macabre works that can be seen today.

Kostnice Sedlec,Sedlec ossuary

Despite having seen it many times on TV, the ossuary is very impressive. And even more so at the time of our trip, when we were completely alone and there was a sepulchral silence.

According to what I have read, in summer it gets very crowded and uncomfortable.

On the way out, with our hair still standing on end, we set off for the Church of the Assumption.

Katedrála Nanebevzetí Panny Marie a sv. Jana Křtitele, or the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist. It is the oldest Cistercian cathedral in Bohemia and dates back to the mid-12th century. This was the period of the greatest expansion of the Cistercian order.

In 1421, during the Hussite Revolt, it was burned and abandoned along with the monastery. Between 1700 and 1708 it was restored first by architect Pavel Ignác Bayer and then by Jan Blažej Santini-Aichl. The latter gave it a Baroque Gothic style.

Katedrála Nanebevzetí Panny Marie a sv. Jana Křtitele

Despite its name, it does not have the status of a cathedral.

The church is notable for its large art collection. Highlights include works by Judy Tadeáš Cena, Michael Leopold Willmann and Petr Brandl and sculptures by Matěj Václav Jäckel.

Katedrála Nanebevzetí Panny Marie a sv. Jana Křtitele

We stroll around, contemplating the numerous works of art, and go up to the first floor. The stairs on the way up are also remarkable. Designed and built without a central axis by Jan Blažej Santini-Aichl.

Katedrála Nanebevzetí Panny Marie a sv. Jana Křtitele

From the top we have a wonderful view of the central nave of the church. We can also go out into a corridor between the façade and the roof. There is a small exhibition on the architect Jan Blažej Santini-Aichl.

Katedrála Nanebevzetí Panny Marie a sv. Jana Křtitele
Katedrála Nanebevzetí Panny Marie a sv. Jana Křtitele

We finished our visit and set off for the city centre. To do so, we went to the bus stop right in front of the church.

As it was 10 minutes before it was due to pass, we went into a little shop there to buy some pastries. We waited in the bitter cold, while it was still snowing.

We took bus 381, which cost us 14 CZK (0.60€). Very convenient because you can pay by credit card. It took us about 15 minutes to get to the Žižkov stop, Na Valech.

It was still very cold.

Kutná Hora

We quickly make our way to Chrám svaté Barbory, the church of St. Barbara. This is one of the most famous Gothic churches in Central Europe. Construction began in 1388 to compete with St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.

They wanted to demonstrate the power of the city in comparison with the latter. Thanks to its rich silver mines, there was no lack of money for it.

But silver mining ceased. The works were interrupted several times and were finished in 1905. Yes, more than 500 years later. Moreover, its size is half of what was originally planned.

Chrám svaté Barbory, the church of St. Barbara
Chrám svaté Barbory, the church of St. Barbara

Inside we can contemplate the spectacular organ and its medieval frescoes. Also the stained glass windows and all the elements. The truth is that it is a beautiful church.

Chrám svaté Barbory, the church of St. Barbara

At the bottom we climb the 84 steps leading up to the inner terrace, where we enjoy a good view of the central nave. There is also a small exhibition on the construction of the church.

We leave the church and next to it is Kaple Božího těla, the Corpus Christi chapel. It is a small chapel that is… empty. There is nothing inside.

It was originally a Karner, a cemetery with an ossuary. Later it was used as an oratory by the Jesuits. After the abolition of the order in 1773, the chapel passed from hand to hand with different uses. It was used as a warehouse or workshop.

In the middle of the 20th century it was abandoned. In 1990 it was included in the list of the 100 most endangered monuments in the world. Between 1997 and 2000 a demanding reconstruction was carried out, which saved the chapel.

Kaple Božího těla
Kaple Božího těla

Incidentally, admission is completely free. It has a terrace with beautiful views of the city.

Kutná Hora from Kaple Božího těla
Kutná Hora from Kaple Božího těla

Next to the chapel and the cathedral is GASK, the central art gallery of Bohemia. It is housed in a former Jesuit monastery.

Six years after the arrival of the Jesuits in the city (1626), Emperor Ferdinand II issues the charter of the Jesuit College.

With the Thirty Years’ War (1618 – 1648), its construction was delayed until 1666. It was built in Neo-Baroque style between 1667 and 1750. The design was by the architect Giovanni Domenico Orsi de Orsini.

In 1773 the Jesuit order was abolished and the building was taken over by the army. Since 1998 it has housed the GASK, a modern art gallery.

GASK, the central art gallery of Bohemia
GASK, the central art gallery of Bohemia

We stroll along the Jesuit Walk, a group of thirteen 18th century statues on the viewing terrace in front of the Jesuit College. The 12 original sculptures were made by František Baugut between 1703 and 1716.

In 1740, a statue of St. John of Nepomuk by an unknown artist was installed next to the castle.

We walk along Barborská Street and arrive at the gates of Hrádek, the Kutná Hora Castle. A small wooden fortification once stood on this site. In the 14th century, a fortified manor house was added to it as a mint.

Over the centuries, it passed through several owners, who made various alterations. Between the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was rebuilt as a patrician palace. In the 17th century, Hrádek served as a Jesuit school.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it was bought by the town. In the early 1990s, it underwent extensive restoration. In 1996, after the work was completed, the Czech Silver Museum was opened.


Under the castle there are old silver mines that can be visited. But in February and March they are closed. What bad luck.

We continued along Barborská Street, one of the most touristic streets in Kutná Hora. And we were practically alone. It has its charm but… it doesn’t feel like being in the real world. There is a lack of people.


On our walk we come to Kamenná kašna, the Stone Fountain. Intense mining activity in the town disrupted the underground water sources. This resulted in a shortage of drinking water. This problem was solved in 1495. It was with the construction of a stone fountain in the form of a dodecagon on today’s Rejsek Square.

It was originally roofed. It served as a water reservoir, to which drinking water was brought through wooden pipes from the spring of St. Adalbert, about 3 km away. It functioned until 1890.

Kamenná kašna
Kamenná kašna

We continue walking through the deserted streets of Kutná Hora. We approach Kostel sv. Jakuba, the church of St. James. This is the oldest stone church in the town. It was begun in 1333 and completed in 1420 in Gothic style.

In 1995 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

On the south façade we have a fantastic viewpoint.

Kutná hora

Next to it is one of the most spectacular buildings in the city: the Vlašský dvůr, the Italian Court.

Originally, it was the seat of the Prague Central Mint. Its name derives from the Italian experts who were at the forefront of minting reform.

For many centuries, the Italian Court was the centre of the state’s economic power. It housed the royal mint and was the residence of the king during his visits to the Kutná Hora silver mines.

The royal mint and the position of the supreme master of the mint came to an end in the 18th century. This was after the great fire of 1770. Then the town hall moved to the Italian court.

To conclude our visit, we went to Morový sloup, the Plague Column. Also known as the Column of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, it is located on Šultysova Street.

It was built between 1713 and 1715 as a commemoration of the contemporary plague that killed more than a thousand people. This Baroque plague column was built by the Jesuit sculptor František Baugut.

It is decorated with different motifs. A statue of the Immaculate Virgin Mary adorns the top of the column. In the central part are statues of Charles Borromeo, St. Sebastian with an arrow through him, St. Roch with a dog at his feet, and Francis Xavier.

Among the statues of saints on the pedestal are reliefs of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, St. Norbert, St. Barbara.

In the lower part of the column there are sculptures of crows with shields, among them there are reliefs of Mary Magdalene, John of Nepomuk and St. Dominic.

The visit to Kutná Hora is over. We take the bus back to Palackého náměstí, the heart of today’s historical centre of the town.

Most of the houses here are originally Gothic and Baroque. Originally, the square was mostly occupied by the town hall. The town hall was destroyed during a fire in 1770.

We take bus 802, which costs us 15 CZK (0.64€), one crown more than the return… but we go further. It drops us at the door of the train station.

We catch the 13.01 train, which arrives a little late, leaving at 13.10. In about 50 minutes we are back in Prague.

Being already a bit late we look for something to eat. We do so in a nearby pub called Ferdinanda. Menu of the day. Exquisite homemade food which cost us 450CZK (19€), two soups, two courses and drink. Gratuity not included. The waiters were very pleasant but, as everywhere in Prague, not in a hurry.

Very good experience which, we would try again, was isolated. We went back twice and had a totally bad experience. But we will comment on that later.

After filling our stomachs, we set off for a place that we had only made a note of if we had time. But I have to say, it is one of the places we liked the most in Prague.

It is Vyšehrad, one of the original towns of Prague. It was the first seat of the Czech princes and the legendary Princess Libusa.

Vyšehrad, which means “castle on high”, is situated on top of a huge rock on the banks of the Moldova River. It was the second castle founded by the Premyslids in the 10th century, having been renovated and enlarged during the following centuries.

Within its walls there are several remarkable elements that we will tell you about below.

After a walk of about 3 km, we reach Cihelná Brána, the Brick Gate. Also known as the New Gate, it is an entrance to the north of the fortification. It was built in the Baroque style between 1835 and 1831 by the engineer Johann Weiss.

Cihelná Brána

We pass through the gate and go to Hřbitov Vyšehrad, the Vyšehrad cemetery. Opened in 1869, it is the resting place of many Czech celebrities. Composers, artists, sculptors, writers, scientists and politicians are buried here.

The truth is that some of the tombs are true works of art.

Hřbitov Vyšehrad

Next to it is Bazilika svatého Petra a Pavla, the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. It was founded around 1070 by the Czech King Bratislava II. It was an early Romanesque church that was badly damaged in a fire in 1249.

It was rebuilt first in Gothic style during the reign of Charles IV and later in High Baroque style at the beginning of the 18th century.

The basilica we see today is the result of a reconstruction carried out between 1887 and 1903.

Bazilika svatého Petra a Pavla
Bazilika svatého Petra a Pavla

But the best part is inside. It is richly decorated with murals by the painter František Urban and his wife Marie Urbanová-Zahradnická. They are inspired by the art of Alfons Mucha.

The truth is that it completely blew us away. I think it is a must-see in Prague. The entrance fee is 130 CZK (5.55€). It’s not cheap but it’s worth it.

Bazilika svatého Petra a Pavla
Bazilika svatého Petra a Pavla

We leave the church in awe of the interior of the basilica and take a stroll around the grounds. Next to the church is Vyšehradské sady, the Vyšehrad Gardens.

We climb to the top of the wall to admire the beautiful views.


From the west side of the wall we can see Libušina lázeň, the ruins of Princess Libuše’s Bath. It was originally a guardhouse from the 15th century. It was part of the fortifications from the time of Charles IV.

The river traffic was monitored from here. The name of the Libuše Bath comes from a legend that says that the princess used to bathe here. She used to receive her lovers here. When she tired of them she would throw them into the river through a sinkhole in the ground or a crack in the rock.

The inhabitants of Prague do not quite agree with this. It is said to be an invention of the Germans who populated the area in the 19th century to discredit Princess Libuše.

Libušina lázeň
Libušina lázeň

As we were tired, we decided to stop for a coffee at a place called Rea Art. We did so at a place called Rea Art. A really delicious coffee and one of the least expensive we have ever had: 70 CZK (3€).

Right next door is the Galerie Lucerna. Located in the Lucerne Palace, it is a roofed shopping street with numerous shops, a concert hall and even cinemas. It was built between 1907 and 1921 and was the idea and work of Vascláv Havel.

Another of David Černý’s works is also of note. It is Kůň (Horse), which depicts St. Wenceslas in the same position as his original statue. The difference is that in this one the horse is dead and hanging upside down.

It is one of his most famous works.


The gallery has one of its exits at Václavské náměstí, Wenceslas Square, one of the most important squares in Prague.

It is the commercial and administrative centre of the city, a place of important social and historical events. It is the traditional venue for demonstrations, celebrations and other public gatherings.

Built by King Charles IV with the foundation of the New Town in 1348. This was the second largest square in the city, known as Koňský trh (horse market). It was so named because horse markets were held here periodically in the Middle Ages.

In 1848 it was renamed Svatováclavské náměstí.

Václavské náměstí

On 28 October 1918, Alois Jirásek read the proclamation of Czechoslovak independence in front of the statue of St. Wenceslas.

The Nazis used the square for mass demonstrations.

On 16 January 1969, student Jan Palach committed suicide in the square to protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

In 1989, during the Velvet Revolution, large demonstrations of several thousand people took place here.

At the southeastern end of the square is Pomník svatého Václava, the monument to St. Wenceslas. It is the work of Josef Václav Myslbek and was built between 1887 and 1924. It was unfinished and inaugurated in 1913. It was not until 1924 that the statues of St. Vojtěch and St. Agnes were installed.

Pomník svatého Václava

Behind the statue is the Národní muzeum, the National Museum in Prague. The museum was founded in 1818 under the name of the Patriotic Museum in Bohemia.

Between 1821 and 1846 it was housed in the Šternberský palác, and later in the Palác Sylva-Taroucca between 1846 and 1891.

In 1848 it was renamed the Czech Museum (České muzeum) and from 1854 to 1919 it was renamed the Royal Czech Museum (Muzeum Království českého).

The present building was built between 1885 and 1895 in the Neo-Renaissance style. It was designed by the Czech architect Josef Schulz.

Národní muzeum
Národní muzeum

Across the street to the north is Nová budova Národního muzea, the New National Museum. Another building that is part of the National Museum in Prague. It occupies the former National Assembly building.

The building was constructed between 1936 and 1937 and designed by Jaroslav Rössler to house the Stock Exchange. After its abolition in 1948, it became the National Assembly and then the Federal Assembly.

The National Museum was installed here in 2006.

Nová budova Národního muzea
Nová budova Národního muzea

Right next to it is the Státní opera, the Prague State Opera. The theatre was founded in 1888 as the New German Theatre (Neues deutsches Teather). It was built in neoclassical style by architect Alfonso Wertmüller.

In 1938 the German Theatre Society was dissolved and the theatre was sold to the Czechoslovak state. During the Nazi occupation, it was renamed Deutsches Opernhaus and performed only German plays.

After the war, a group of Czech artists promoted the creation of the 5 May Theatre and it opened in September 1945.

In 1949 it was renamed the Smetana Theatre, with special emphasis on ballet. After the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the theatre regained its independence from the National Opera and was renamed the State Opera.

Státní opera
Státní opera

And a little further north, on the same avenue, we find the railway station and its old façade. It was inaugurated on 14 December 1871. It was named Františka Josefa in honour of Franz Joseph I of Austria.

Between 1918 and 1939 it was called Wilson Station in honour of US President Woodrow Wilson.

Prague railway station

The beautiful Art Nouveau interior lobby was designed in 1909 by the Czech architect Josef Fanta.

Prague railway station

To get to the lobby, go to the left side of the station as you enter and go up to the first floor, where you will soon find signs.

On our way back to the centre we pass Jindřišská věž, the Jindřich Tower. It is the original bell tower of the church of St. Henry and St. Kunhuta?

It was built in Gothic style between 1472 and 1476. The clock was installed in 1577.

During the Siege of Prague in 1648 it served as a military guard post. It was heavily damaged by Swedish artillery.

During the siege by Prussian troops in 1757 it was further damaged. It was restored between 1876 and 1879 in the Neo-Gothic style by the architect Josef Mocker.

Today, the bell tower is leased to a private company that operates a restaurant, a viewing platform and a carillon.

Jindřišská věž

From here we went to Muzeum Komunismu, the Museum of Communism. A museum dedicated to the communist regime established in Czechoslovakia after the Second World War. It was opened in 2001.

Muzeum Komunismu

Taking advantage of the fact that there was a supermarket in the same building, we went in to get some sweets for a snack. We went with them to the hotel to rest a bit as we were exhausted.

After the rest we went out for a walk looking for something to eat. We went to a place called Restaurant Na Ovocném Trhu. It was a light dinner but it was very good and the service was also good and made good recommendations. The dinner cost us 535 CZK (23€), service not included.

Restaurant Na Ovocném Trhu
Restaurant Na Ovocném Trhu

After dinner we go for a cool walk back to the hotel to rest. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day.


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