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Kutná Hora is a small town located in the Czech Republic, home to some of the most interesting history and architecture in Europe.
One of the main attractions in Kutná Hora is the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, which is located just outside of town. This cathedral is famous for its unique design and stunning Gothic architecture.
Along with the Church of St. Barbara, another attraction of Kutná Hora, the Cathedral of Our Lady was incorporated into the World Heritage Site list UNESCO in 1995. Constructed in the time of the last Přemyslids, the cathedral is one of the finest examples of a Czech Gothic building. In addition to that, it is also one of the oldest works of Baroque Gothic architecture in central Europe.
This article will discuss in-depth all the important facts about this heritage site, such as its geographic location, cultural and historical importance, and how it made the World Heritage Site list. So, whether you are an architecture enthusiast or a tourist planning to visit this place, this article is a must-read.
So, to begin with, we will discuss the geographic location of both the town of Kutná Hora and the church. This section can be a great help if you plan to visit this place. You will also enjoy it if you are an enthusiast and want to increase your knowledge of architecture.
So, Kutná Hora is a small town with about 21,000 inhabitants and is situated in the region of Central Bohemia, Czech Republic. At the center of the town is located the municipality of Sedlec, which is known for housing some brilliant architectural works, including Sedlec ossuary, Sedlec Abbey, and the Cathedral of Our Lady. The town received the status of an urban monument reservation in 1961 and is considered the fourth-largest one in the country.
When it comes to the cathedral, here is its official address: U Zastávky, Sedlec, 284 03 Kutná Hora. The monument is not far from the center of the town; if you take a walk towards the northeast, you will reach the place in about 20 minutes. It is also within walking distance from Sedlec Ossuary; all you need to do is take bus no. one or seven while going to the Ossuary and get off at the stop called Sedlec, Tabák and let the road signs lead you to your destination.
Tourists who prefer traveling by train can also take a train from the city and get off at the Kutná Hora-Sedlec stop. This is just one piece of advice: this is a request stop, so don't forget to press that button by the door.
Apart from these, you will always find a cab or a tourist bus (which connects the Ossuary and the Church of St. Barbara) waiting for you outside the railway station. Happy journey!
This section will cover all the important facts related to the historical importance and cultural significance of both the town of Kutná Hora and the Cathedral of Our lady.
Even though silver dinars belonging to the 10th century have been found in the settlement of Malin (at present a part of the town), it is said that the town began with the establishment of Sedlec Abbey in 1142. It was the first Cistercian monastery of Bohemia, and the Cistercian order that reigned in this monastery is believed to have been derived from Waldsassen Abbey in Bavaria, Germany. German miners started working in silver mines located in the mountain region by 1260. They named the place Kuttenberg, which might have derived from the word kutání (mining in old Czech) or Kutten (monks' cowls).
In the 13th century, under Abbot Heinrich Heidenreich, the town's silver mines gained much importance during the economic boom of the century. Due to that, the town experienced rapid economic growth. It is said that during the 13th-16th centuries, the town of Kutna Hora competed with Prague politically, culturally, and economically.
Constructed around 1300, the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady was the first High Gothic building in the Bohemian Kingdom. It was also the first work of architecture in the kingdom that resembled the French Gothic cathedrals. Initially, the cathedral was a part of the Cistercians Sedlec Abbey and was constructed in the place of an older Seldec church. But, in 1421, the Seldec Abbey was burnt down by the Hussites, and shortly after, the church also faced the same fate.
After two centuries, in 1700, Jindřich Snopek, the abbot of the Seldec Abbey, decided to reconstruct the cathedral. The work contract went to Pavel Ignác Bayer, a renowned architect of the time. Three years later, Jan Blažej Santini-Aichel, a Czech architect of Italian descent who had already worked with Cistercians in Zbraslav, replaced Bayer and finished the church's construction in Baroque Gothic style, an architectural style that he contrived.
Jan Blažej's work gained much recognition in a very short time for its impressive facade and vaulting. The antechamber of the church, which was decorated by the statues designed and made by Matěj Václav Jäckel, also became very popular in the world of architecture. Finally, in 1708, the cathedral was consecrated.
Even though the church was reconstructed in the early 18h century, the architect decided to preserve the original appearance (of the outside) of the eastern part of the cathedral, which includes the choir, side chapels, and the transept. The interior of the monastery, however, was changed during the reconstruction. The latest restoration of the Cathedral of Our Lady took place in 2001.
The Church of Our Lady at Sedlec is one of the oldest churches in the Baroque Gothic style in central Europe. Over time, it has undergone different types of situations (it was destroyed, rebuilt, and reconsecrated) and is now filled with historical and cultural significance.
The town of Kutna Hora received the status of a World Heritage Site in 1995, and for a good reason! The distinctions based on which UNESCO incorporated the town into the World Heritage list involve the two most famous monuments of Kutná Hora. The first one is the Church of St. Barbara; the criterion says that the monastery is of high artistic and architectural quality and profoundly influenced the subsequent works of architecture in the Czech Republic and central Europe.
The second one involves the town itself and both the churches; the criterion says that Kutna Hora, with the Church of Our Lady and St. Barbara, creates an excellent example of a medieval town whose prosperity and economic growth came from silver mines.
Even though the town is small, it is historically significant that all the information about it and its monuments could not fit into the previous sections. So, here are some miscellaneous facts about this heritage site that is as interesting as the previous ones, if not more.
Act No. 20/1987 col. on State Heritage Preservation protects both the town of Kutna Hora and the Church of Our Lady. According to this Act, the town is an urban heritage reservation, while the monastery is a cultural heritage site. The Church of St. Barbara also falls into this protective zone, and the Act classifies it as a national cultural monument. Thus the state provides it with the highest level of heritage protection.
Like the Church of St. Barbara, the Italian Court (the former royal palace with the Mint) also falls in the same category and enjoys the highest level of heritage protection. But, unlike these two, the Church of Our Lady is classified as a cultural monument like most other historical buildings in Kutna Hora and the Czech Republic.
The city of Kutna Hora and the Roman Catholic church share the responsibility for the town's property, including the Church of Our Lady and St. Barbara. Thus they are responsible for the conservation, presentation, and maintenance of the buildings and monuments. Interestingly, all the expenses for the restorative works of the property come solely from public funding. To this end, the city organizes various programs aiming to regenerate urban heritage zones and reservations.
The Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic also organizes programs (grant schemes and funding) to accumulate financial instruments and resources to preserve and maintain the property, including buildings and monuments like the Cathedral of Our Lady and the Church of St. Barbara.
Finally, apart from these two churches, the town of Kutna Hora also houses some other very popular and world-renowned works of architecture. Two of them are the Church of St. Jacob (attached to the Italian court) and the Hradek (little castle), a fine example of Gothic palazzetto.
Q: What is the Kutná Hora Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec is known for?
A: It is known for being one of the oldest examples of the Baroque Gothic style. It has existed for hundreds of years, and after getting destroyed and rebuilt, it has earned the status of a cultural monument in Kutna Hora.
Q: Where is the Kutná Hora Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec located?
A: The church is located in Kutna Hora town, in Central Bohemia, Czech Republic.
Q: What is the significance of the Kutná Hora Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec?
A: It is one of the first High Gothic buildings in the Bohemian Kingdom and central Europe. Along with other architectural works of the town like the Church of St. Barbara and Sedlec Ossuary, this cathedral is both culturally and historically significant.
Q: When and why was the Kutná Hora Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec declared a World Heritage Site?
A: UNESCO bestowed the World Heritage Site status on the town of Kutna Hora in 1995 for being a fine example of a medieval town that owes its economic growth to silver mines.
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