4 Best of the Czech Republic
Three Jewels in
the VeryCentre
of Bohemia
In three cardinal directions
fromPrague, there lie three
of the country’s historical
treasures. All are less than
an hour’s drive away. Three
witnesses of the ancient and
recent past, protectedby
Mysterious Kutná Hora
In the east lies the medieval
town of Kutná Hora,
charming and mysterious. Its
secrets include cathedrals,
cloisters, houses of the
aristocracy, mysterious
passageways, vaulted cellars
and masterpieces of Gothic
and Baroque architecture,
urban planning, and
sculpture. In the Middle
Ages, silver was mined here
and coins minted; trade
flourished, and the Czech king
even had his seat here.
You can stand in silent
admiration under the arched
ceiling of one of the most
beautiful Gothic cathedrals
in Europe, dedicated to Saint
Barbara, walk through the
courtyards and chambers of
the Italian Court, the former
palace of Wenceslas IV, or
hold your breath as you
descend into the Ossuary
of the Cistercian Monastery
and with awe and unease
see the altars, coats of arms,
chandeliers, pyramids and
obelisks made of the bones of
plague victims. Then enter the
unique Gothic Stone
House and, for a while,
become a medieval craftsman
or even a cook…
Listen to the story of the
church’s construction,
a story which was written
over five centuries and
was interrupted several
times by historic events.
St. Barbara’s Church was
originally intended as
a representative building
and was erected under the
patronage of the wealthy
burghers of Kutná Hora. Its
origins reflect the tensions
at that time between Kutná
Hora and Prague and also
between Kutná Hora and
the powerful monastery
in nearby Sedlec. This
magnificent structure is
simply breathtaking, both
for its exterior architecture
and also for the rich murals
inside the church.
Proud Karlštejn
West of Prague lies one of
the symbols and landmarks
of the Czech Republic, the
majestic Karlštejn Castle,
built of stone, which is
the pride of Czech Gothic
craftsmanship. It is as if Time
itself was sitting in the corner,
not daring to disturb the air
full of history. Palaces and
chambers, long and spacious
corridors, impenetrable castle
walls and austere towers, and
most importantly, the jewel
of jewels, the Chapel of the
Holy Cross with a unique
collection of one hundred and
twenty-nine Gothic paintings
by Master Theodoricus.
St. Barbara‘s Church
Kutná Hora
Church interior
Konopiště of Fairy Tales
In the south, in the middle of
a beautiful park with forests
and lakes, we find a fairy tale
chateau. But the spirit of this
place is that of court etiquette
of the early 20th century, the
dress uniforms of the imperial
court, hunting jackets, and
the first automobiles. The
last person to transform the
chateau to suit his liking was
Archduke Franz Ferdinand,
heir to the Austro-Hungarian
throne. His marvellous
hunting trophies, armoury,
pompous drawing rooms and
bedrooms, studies, as well
as his private dining room,
all retain the spirit of the
man whose death in faraway
Sarajevo sparked the First
World War.
Sedlec Ossuary
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