Kutná Hora

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Location
49°56'53"N
015°16'05"E
Country
 Czech Republic
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Description

Kutná Hora (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkutnaː ˈɦora] (listen); medieval Czech: Hory Kutné; German: Kuttenberg) is a town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has a population of about 21,000.

History

Establishment

The earliest traces of silver have been found dating back to the 10th century, when Bohemia already had been in the crossroads of long-distance trade for many centuries. Silver dinars have been discovered belonging to the period between 982 and 995 in the settlement of Malín, which is now a part of Kutná Hora.The town began in 1142 with the settlement of Sedlec Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in Bohemia. The Cistercian order based in the Sedlec Monastery was brought from the Imperial immediate Cistercian Waldsassen Abbey in Bavaria, Germany, close to the border with the Czech Republic. By 1260, German miners began to mine for silver in the mountain region, which they named Kuttenberg, and which was part of the monastery property. The name of the mountain is said to have derived from the monks' cowls (the Kutten) or from the word mining (kutání in old Czech).

Middle Ages

From the 13th to 16th centuries, the town competed with Prague economically, culturally, and politically. Under Abbot Heinrich Heidenreich, the territory greatly advanced due to the silver mines which gained importance during the economic boom of the 13th century. In 1300, King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia issued the new royal mining code Ius regale montanorum (also known as Constitutiones Iuris Metallici Wenceslai II). This was a legal document that specified all administrative as well as technical terms and conditions necessary for the operation of mines. Prague groschen were minted between 1300 and 1547/48. In December 1402, the town was sacked by King Sigismund after the imprisonment of Wenceslaus IV. It was heavily defended by it's residents. After several bloody skirmishes, Sigismund prevailed and forced the defenders to march to Kolín and kneel in subjugation. Although Sigismund was successful in his conquest, his hetman Markvart of Ulice (German: Markvart von Aulitz) died after being struck by an arrow during the siege on 27 December. A fictionalized Markvart later appeared as an antagonist in the 2018 video game Kingdom Come: Deliverance.The town developed with great rapidity, and at the outbreak of the Hussite Wars in 1419 was the second most important town in Bohemia after Prague, having become the favourite residence of several Bohemian kings. It was here that, on January 18, 1409, Wenceslaus IV signed the famous Decree of Kutná Hora, by which the Czech university nation was given three votes in the elections to the faculty of Prague University as against one for the three other nations. In 1420, Sigismund made the town the base for his unsuccessful attack on the Taborites during the Hussite Wars, leading to the Battle of Kutná Hora. Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora) was taken by Jan Žižka, and after a temporary reconciliation of the warring parties was burned by the imperial troops in 1422, to prevent its falling again into the hands of the Taborites. Žižka nonetheless took the place, and under Bohemian auspices it awoke to a new period of prosperity.

Modern era

Along with the rest of Bohemia, Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora) passed to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. In 1546, the richest mine was severely flooded. In the insurrection of Bohemia against Ferdinand I the town lost all its privileges. Repeated visitations of the plague and the horrors of the Thirty Years' War completed its ruin. Half-hearted attempts after the peace to repair the ruined mines failed; the town became impoverished, and in 1770 was devastated by fire. The mines were abandoned at the end of the 18th century. In May 1742 during the First Silesian War, a Prussian force under Frederick the Great stopped in the town prior to the Battle of Chotusitz.Bohemia was a crownland of the Austrian Empire in 1806, and remained controlled by the Austrian monarchy after the compromise of 1867. Until 1918, Kuttenberg was the capital of the district of the same name, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia. Together with the rest of Bohemia, the town became part of the newly founded Czechoslovakia after World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary. Kutná Hora was incorporated into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia by Nazi Germany in the period 1939–1945, but was restored to Czechoslovakia after World War II. The town became part of the Czech Republic in 1993, after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Since 1995, the town center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Architecture

The center of Kutná Hora and Sedlec Abbey with its famous ossuary are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is estimated that the ossuary is decorated with bones of more than 40,000 skeletons. Among the most important buildings in the town are the Gothic, five-naved St. Barbara's Church, begun in 1388, and the Italian Court, formerly a royal residence and mint, which was built at the end of the 13th century. The Gothic Stone Haus, which since 1902 has served as a museum, contains one of the richest archives in the country. The Gothic St. James's Church, with its 86 m (282 ft) tower, is another prominent building. Sedlec is the site of the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady and the famous Ossuary.

Main sights

St. Barbara's Church Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist Sedlec Ossuary Church of St. James Church of St. John Nepomuk Church of Ursuline Convent Jesuit College Italian Court Marian column

Notable people

Jakob Jakobeus (1591–1645), Slovak writer Michal Lesák, footballer Jan Erazim Vocel (1803–1871), poet, archaeologist, historian and cultural revivalist František Zelenka (1904–1944), architect, graphic, stage set and costume designer

Twin towns – sister cities

Kutná Hora is twinned with:
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