Kutná Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec

City and District of Kutná Hora, Central Bohemian Region
N49 57 0 E15 16 0
Date of Inscription: 1995
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Property : 62.437 ha
Buffer zone: 649.9 ha
Ref: 732
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Kutná Hora developed as a result of the exploitation of the silver mines. In the 14th century it became a royal city endowed with monuments that symbolized its prosperity. The Church of St Barbara, a jewel of the late Gothic period, and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec, which was restored in line with the Baroque taste of the early 18th century, were to influence the architecture of central Europe. These masterpieces today form part of a well-preserved medieval urban fabric with some particularly fine private dwellings.

The historic town centre of Kutná Hora with the Church of St Barbara and the Church of Our Lady at Sedlec are located in Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. Kutná Hora has developed as a result of the discovery and exploitation of the rich veins of silver ore since the end of the 13th century. In the 14th century, it became a royal city endowed with buildings that symbolized its enormous prosperity. The Church of St Barbara and the former Cistercian monastery church of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist in Sedlec, located at a distance of approximately 1.5 km to the north-east of the historic centre, were to influence considerably the architecture of Central Europe. Today, these masterpieces, representing cathedral architecture, form the dominants of a well-preserved medieval town-planning structure filled with Gothic and Baroque urban fabric.

The most striking of Kutná Hora is the church of Saint Barbara, the Gothic jewel whose interior is decorated with frescoes depicting the secular life of the medieval mining town of Kutná Hora. This piece of art had a major influence on the architecture of central Europe. The former Cistercian cathedral, Our Lady of Sedlec, which is at a distance of 1.5 km northeast of the historic centre, was restored in the Baroque style in the early 18th century by Jan Blazej Santini. For the first time, he used his conception of the Baroque Gothic style which strongly influenced the history of architecture.

The oldest neighbourhoods Vlassky dvur (Italian courtyard which includes the southeast tower) are dating back to the early 14th century. The royal chapel is Gothic and boasts a remarkable interior design. Attached to the Italian court, we find the church of St Jacob from the 14th century whose furniture date back mostly to the end of the Gothic period. The Hradek (little castle) is an interesting example of Gothic palazzetto of Central Europe which has kept both inside and outside in its original condition.

Throughout its extensive area, the historic centre of Kutná Hora reflects a very specific medieval structure of the city ground plan, which is determined by mining, later with only isolated partial corrections. In spite of its long dynamic development, the town retains an earlier pattern of communications predating the city’s actual origin. Moreover, the historic built-up area, formed by the finest architectural works from Gothic and Baroque periods and the specific breathtaking Kutná Hora panorama, is impressively linked to a picturesque surrounding landscape.

Criterion (ii): The urban fabric of Kutná Hora was endowed with many buildings of high architectural and artistic quality, notably the Church St Barbara, which had a profound influence on subsequent developments in the architecture of Central Europe. 

Criterion (iv): The historic town centre of Kutná Hora, with the Church of St Barbara and the Church of Our Lady at Sedlec, constitutes an outstanding example of a medieval town whose wealth and prosperity was based on its silver mines.

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