Kutná Hora (Kuttenberg)

Kutná Hora (Kuttenberg)

Considering the towns with rich history and precious architectural monuments, Kutná Hora ranks among the most significant ones in the Czech Republic. In 1995 the historical town centre was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Kutná Hora (254 metres above sea level, with over 21,000 inhabitants) grew on the river Vrchlice near the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, which was mentioned in historical references already in 1142. The town developed as a result of exploring the silver mines, which was essential for royal power. During the reign of king Wenceslas II the original mining settlement, Mons Cuthna, grew rapidly.

In 1291 Kutná Hora had its own court of justice and mining office. In 1300 king Wenceslas II issued the new royal mining code. Shortly after that Kutná Hora also became the seat of the central mint of the Czech Lands, which incused for instance the so-called Prague Groschen. In order to help with the minting reform, Wenceslas II invited Italian experts who gave the name to a small royal palace from 1290s neighbouring with the new mint, the Italian Court (Vlašský Dvůr). During the reign of Wenceslas IV in the late 14th century it was rebuilt into a comfortable residence. In the past, the audience hall with precious compartment ceiling witnessed a lot of important meetings, which often influenced the history of the Czech Lands.

In 1409 it was the Decree of Kutná Hora which gave the members of the Bohemian university nation a decisive voice in the affairs of Charles University in Prague. Jan Hus took part in those meetings.

During the Hussite wars the town stood firmly behind Emperor Sigismund. The Hussites burned out the monastery in Sedlec as well as the town. Later Kutná Hora started to support Calixtines party.

In the Italian Court George of Poděbrady was elected hetman in 1444 and in 1471 an assembly meeting, which also took place in the Italian Court, elected Polish king Vladislav II Jagello the king of Bohemia. In March 1485 there were negotiations between Catholics and Utraquists and as a result a religious reconciliation was reached, which then ensured religious egality of both churches.

After the Battle of the White Mountain everything changed. On the 21 of June 1621 Jan Šultys of Felsdorf, Kutná Hora Mayor was executed in Prague Old Town Square together with 26 other Bohemian noblemen who had taken part in the Estates uprising. During counter-Reformation Jesuits came into the town. The Italian Court became the symbol of victorious Habsburg power. The mines became slowly desolate and in 1726 mining was stopped completely. The fame of Kutná Hora has never been restored, however, its historical monuments are the pride of the town even today.

Worth visiting is not only the national cultural monument of the Italian Court but also churches, historical buildings, the former Ursuline convent (by K. I. Diezenhofer), Gothic stone fountain and most of all the Cathedral of St. Barbara, the patron saint of miners, founded in the late 14th century (completed in 1905) and built by well-known architects, such as Jan Parléř (the son of the famous Petr Parléř), Matyáš Rejsek and Benedikt Rejt.

The Toleration Patent did nof get vast public acceptance. After the declaration of the Protestant Patent (1861) the number of the Protestants in Kutná Hora started to grow. The congregation was founded in 1891 and the first minister Viktor Szalatnay served there for 48 years.

The church was built by J. Procházka and designed by Prague architect F. Buldra. His Empire style design is unique among sacred buildings of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren (ECCB). The construction started in May 1887 and was completed in December of the same year. Clear, straight lines of the gables and the whole building evoke a Greek temple of a Doric style. Above the entrance portal there is a stone chalice, the symbol of Czech Reformation. A rectory was added to the church later.

In the 1970s the church interior was newly made up according to the design by the Radas. The compartment ceiling in various shades of blue, the Lord’s table with a corrugated cross and windows as if looking at Rada’s paintings on both sides of the pulpit, representing the Old and New Testaments. Eventhough the Kutná Hora Protestant church is not a historical monument to all intents and purposes, even after one hundred years it attracts attention with its unpretentious beauty.