Saint Barbara's Church – Kutna Hora, Czechia - Atlas Obscura

Kutna Hora, Czechia

Saint Barbara's Church

An enormous and lavish Gothic church in Czechia. 

Chrám svaté Barbory (Saint Barbara’s Church) is an enormous Gothic church built with the wealth from a silver mine under the small town of Kutna Hora.

In fact, the church is named for the patron saint of miners, whose continued protection was believed to contribute to the town’s prosperity. It was the silver mining industry, of course, that made the now-sleepy Kutna Hora a preeminent Bohemian town during the Middle Ages.

While the construction of the church began in 1388, it was interrupted numerous times throughout its development. Causes for this disruption varied over the years, including fighting from the Hussite Wars of the 15th century and the dwindling profitability of the silver mines in the 16th. Despite these hurdles, the church was finally completed in 1905.

Because the church took over 500 years to build, the building contains various features from several distinct architectural styles, including Baroque and Gothic elements. Parts of the church, however, are quite modern, including the beautiful Art Nouveau stained glass windows.

The ornate exterior of the church is visually striking, especially with its magnificent flying buttresses and distinctive tent-shaped roof, making the landmark recognizable from far away.

Perhaps the most unique aspects of Saint Barbara are the faint but still-extant frescoes depicting mining and other aspects of daily life in Medieval Kutna Hora that grace the walls.

As part of the historical center of Kutna Hora, Saint Barbara’s Church and the surrounding area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 for its outstanding architecture and historical value. 

Know Before You Go

You can pay a small extra fee to go up to the balcony and access the exterior of the church.

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