Czech Republic

Kutna Hora

Some cities, as 'Starship' sang, are built on rock 'n' roll but Kutná Hora was built on silver, a more durable substance, and almost as profitable.

Kutna Hora Medieval silver-mining boom town

Its extensive deposits lured a flood of settlers in the Thirteenth Century and by its end the town was the seat of the Czech national mint and financial centre of the country. Today, its wealth lies in a thousand years worth of architectural heritage which, unlike Prague's, can be savoured without the pressure of crowds. A daunting prospect perhaps but Kutná Hora's attractions can be found as much in small-scale detail as in the large-scale magnificence of the Fourteenth Century Cathedral of St. Barbara. Stroll along the immaculately-preserved medieval street Ruthardka, or marvel at the Stone Fountain sitting like a giant sandstone crown amid burgher houses. One or two of the larger-scale items shouldn't be missed however. The Bone Church, or Ossuary, is one such, a Cistercian chapel representing a medieval revolution in interior design: bones and nothing but the bones of the dead, from 'noughts and crosses' floor to chandeliered ceiling.

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