Today we went to Kutna Hora, which is a small mining town about an hour outside of Prague. While there, we visited several historical landmarks, including the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Barbara. Named after the patron saint of miners, the Saint Barbara Cathedral is a reflection of a town that has built almost all its wealth upon silver mines.
Construction of the church started in 1388 and at first the building process moved very quickly. Four years after construction began the king’s demanding orders slowed down progress. In 1419 the Hussite Wars between the Hussites and various monarchs, began and halted any construction on the building. It was fought between the followers of the Bohemian priest, Jan Hus, and those who wanted to enforce the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. No work was completed during the 60 years of the war. Even though Matej Rejsek and Benedikt Rejt, architects from Prague, resumed construction in 1482, it took until 1905 for the church to be finished, which is more than 500 years after construction began. In the meantime people did go in and pray inside the unfinished church. The original design for the church was for it to be twice its height and much larger but as the silver mines became less productive, the project had to downsize.
Inside are beautiful tall glass windows, a large organ with bronze and stone sculptures and trapezoidal interiors. It’s hard to do anything but look up when taking in the neo-Gothic design of the cathedral. Even though construction didn’t end until the 20th century, the inside of the church still depicts a medieval mining town.