Saint Barbara’s Church: Kutna Hora

Kongo really likes visiting very old churches.  Saint Barbara’s Church in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic really fits the bill.  This fantastic Gothic church is a UNESCO world heritage site and deservedly so.  Santa Barbara is the patron saint of miners and Kutná Hora was the site of extensive silver mines that were under development as early as the 12th century.  This church has everything from unusual statues inside, flying buttresses, exquisite stained glass, and a killer view.

Flying buttresses, one of Kongo’s favorite architectural features in Gothic churches and cathedrals.

When you enter the church you can’t help but lift your head up toward the ceiling.  That was the point, after all.  The designers wanted to not only impress the congregation with the glory of God but to literally get them to lift their eyes to the heavens.

Construction of the church began in 1388.  It was completed in 1905.  Now it usually took a long time to build these buildings but 517 years is a long, long time even for a Gothic church building.  There were wars that interrupted building and the prosperity of the silver mines ebbed and flowed.  The didn’t even have a roof on it until 1884.  I think finally they said, “enough is enough, let’s finish this darn thing and get on with it!”  Kongo finds it amazing that with as many architects and lead builders this project needed over the centuries that the building didn’t end up like the Winchester mystery house or something.  It is absolutely a magnificent structure.

Looking toward the organ pipes at the rear of the church.
The alter at the front of the church.
The magnificent ceiling.
A statue of a miner in the church. Saint Barbara was the patron saint of miners.
Examples of the detail throughout the church.
One of the many stained glass windows through the church.
The church pulpit.

Although the church in Kutná Hora is probably bigger than many cathedrals it is not, technically, a cathedral.  Cathedrals are places where the bishop lived and no bishop ever  permanently resided in Kutná Hora.  There are buildings that are designated Basilicas but only the Pope can designate a Basilica.  Kongo was fortunate on this trip to visit churches, cathedrals, and a Basilica.

Learn more about the Church of Saint Barbara at its website.

Travel safe.  Have fun.

A painted wall in one corner of the church.
The view from the church entrance.
Kongo sits on the edge of a pew.
A peek at the organ pipes from an archway.

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