Kutná Hora, 71km east of Prague is one of the country’s underrated gems, flush with mystery, history, and prime Czech aesthetics.

Dominating its skyline is the epic St. Barbara’s Church and its neighbouring Jesuit College, and strolling through the narrow streets reveals a tapestry of Baroque, Gothic, and Roman style architectural styles displaying the long history of the town.

Not seen from afar but noticeable by its cemetery in the front yard is Sedlec Ossuary.

By Milan Boers via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

After walking through the graves, you reach the entrance to its underground chapel adorned with over 40,000 skeletons artistically arranged in occult fashion. Giant pyramids of skulls, chandeliers made of hip bones, and various shrines made of other skeletal parts emanate a morbid but beautiful vibe probably not experienced anywhere else in the world. 

The bones are said to have arrived there after the King of Bohemia sent an abbot to Jerusalem. The abbot brought back a jar of holy soil from the Golgotha, and the King seeded a cemetery using the jar of Jerusalem soil. Everyone wanted to be buried here, and eventually, the bones accumulated to unimaginable amounts. 

The town’s history dates back to over a thousand years ago, but it really kicked off when silver was discovered in the 1300s, turning it into one of Europe’s largest sources of silver. Today you can visit the old mines, silver museums, and see where the silver was pressed into coins. 

The wealth boom brought by the silver mines came to an end when Germany began producing more of its own silver, and came to a complete halt when the town was invaded and plundered by Swedes during the Thirty Years War. 

Kutná Hora’s towns offer ample restaurants and bars, including the 400-year-old Restaurace Dačický, founded by Mikuláš Dačický, son of the mayor and legendary Czech writer and drink connoisseur. Rustic mysterious buildings also occupy the roads, like the 500-year-old Stone House on Václavské náměstí.

Just an hour outside of the capital, Kutná Hora is one of the best day trips you can do. 

Featured image by Jerzy Strzelecki via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Alex Richardson

Alex Richardson

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Alex is a writer and trader living in Prague. He likes economics, anthropology, and cactuses.
Alex Richardson