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Kutná Hora.
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Kutná Hora - Tour of town

Kutná Hora is, as its name suggests, associated with the mining (kutání in Czech) of silver. In 1142 the first Cistercian monastery in the Czech lands was established in the nearby village of Sedlec and at the end of the 13th century the original mining settlement of Cuthna antiqua – Old Kutna - soon became a wealthy royal city. In 1300 King Václav II issued the mining legislation „Ius regale montanorum“ and in the same year he initiated a coinage reform. One century later another king, Václav IV, issued the Kutná Hora Decree, which amended the proportion of votes at Prague University in favour of the Czechs. Kutná Hora is therefore rightly considered to be the treasure-house of the land whose wealth gave strength to the expansion of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Its history and uniqueness were recognised in 1995 when the city was inscribed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage List.

A tour of the city. We can commence our tour at the Cathedral of St. Barbora and the nearby Kaple Božího těla (Corpus Christi Chapel) with its terrace from which there is an unforgettable panorama view of the city. From there we cross Kutná Hora's very own 'Charles Bridge', which is lined with statues and which borders the Jesuit college complex, and reach the Kamenná kašna, which once formed a part of the city water supply in 1495. We pass by the church of St. John of Nepomuk (kostel sv. Jana Nepomuckého), which is near the fountain, and we arrive at Václavské náměstí and the Kamenný dům (stone house) with its exhibition of burgher and patrician life in the 17th to 19th centuries. From here we continue to the Vlašský dvůr, which was once the seat of the ruler and served as the mint where Prague groschen were struck. From the Vlašský dvůr we walk along Ruthardská Street to the Czech Silver Museum in the 'Hrádek' (little castle), where our tour ends.

A walk around the churches and palaces of Kutná Hora offers us a unique opportunity to become acquainted with examples of various building styles over time. You can visit the Cathedral of St. Barbora, the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady (katedrála Nanebevzetí Panny Marie) in Sedlec and the baroque church of St. John of Nepomuk (kostel sv. Jana Nepomuckého). The exhibitions at the Vlašský dvůr and the Hrádek are an unforgettable experience.

A walk around the Kutná Hora of miners and mintworkers will prove to you its omnipresence of the architecture in the city. It influences the decoration on the exterior and interiors of buildings, churches and museum exhibitions and also the layout of the surrounding countryside. The slag heap at Kaněk, the Czech silver museum in Hrádek and silver mine and the exhibition of Kutná Hora minting at the Vlašský dvůr, also document this.

The tour of the burgher and patrician life in Kutná Hora exhibition is a trip back into the history of the burghers' houses and the way of life and society of those days; it is also a unique exhibition of manufactured products, items used on a daily basis, handicrafts and fashion of the period, and it maps their rise and fall in the context of life in the city today. It is a vivid illustration from the time of the city's years of boom and prosperity.

Kaple Božího těla (Corpus Christi Chapel) is one of the few entirely preserved examples of high Gothic. The building was conceived as a two-storey cemetery chapel in the 14th century, but only the ground floor was completed, which was used as an ossuary. Thanks to an extensive reconstruction it now forms a part of city tours and is also a venue for cultural events such as excellent concert performances. From the chapel terrace there is a unique panorama view of the city.

The Cemetery Chapel in Sedlec gained fame long before today's ossuary became well-known. In 1278 the then abbot brought back a handful of earth from Golgotha, which he sprinkled over the abbey cemetery, and it gained the reputation of being Holy Ground. The first records of the bones that decorate today's chapel date from the beginning of the 18th century. Work on the decoration took three years and the remains of approximately forty thousand people were used to do so.

The Museum of Folk Buildings in Kouřim is a museum consisting of buildings rescued from the area flooded following the creation of the Želivka reservoir and outlines the basic types of folk buildings in the Czech lands. The Skansen was opened in 1972 and consists of nine large buildings and several smaller constructions. As well as tours you can see various ethnographic events or exhibitions of traditional crafts.

The Malešov fortress dates from 1303, and in the second half of the 14th century it belonged to the wealthy patrician Ruthard family from Kutná Hora. The architecture of the fortress has been preserved to the present day almost in its original form and, thanks to its current owner, who is restoring the fortress, this monument occasionally comes to life culturally and socially with the organisation of historical events.

The Kačina château is one of the most important Empire-style buildings in the Czech lands. It sits at the centre of an English-style park which contains interesting and exotic trees. The castle houses an exhibition of the history of agriculture, peasant crafts, country businesses and the food industry. A newly-opened castle exhibition provides a portrait of the lives of the noble Chotek family.

The Kladruby Château and National Stud Farm was originally a renaissance noble seat, which is today associated world-wide with the breeding of Kladruber horses. Today's stud farm was established in 1552 and is the oldest of its kind in the world. The single-storey chateau was built in the Renaissance style and has an L-shaped floor plan.

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