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- September 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm #344134
Kutná Hora – Sedlec Ossuary
Kutná Hora is a city situated in the Central Bohemian Region of Bohemia, which is now part of the Czech Republic.
The town began in 1142 with the settlement of the first Cistercian monastery in Bohemia, Sedlec Monastery, brought from the Imperial immediate Cistercian Waldsassen Abbey. By 1260 German miners began to mine for silver in the mountain region, which they named Kuttenberg, and which was part of the monastery property. The name of the mountain is said to have derived from the monks' cowls (the Kutten) or from the word mining (kutání in old Czech). Under Abbot Heinrich Heidenreich the territory greatly advanced due to the silver mines which gained importance during the economic boom of the 13th century.
The earliest traces of silver have been found dating back to the 10th century, when Bohemia already had been in the crossroads of long-distance trade for many centuries. Silver dinars have been discovered belonging to the period between 982-995 in the settlement of Malín, which is now a part of Kutná Hora.
From the 13th to 16th centuries the city competed with Prague economically, culturally and politically. Since 1995 the city center has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1300 when King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia issued the new royal mining code Ius regale montanorum. This was a legal document that specified all administrative as well as technical terms and conditions necessary for the operation of mines. The city developed with great rapidity, and at the outbreak of the Hussite Wars in 1419 was the second most important city in Bohemia, after Prague, having become the favourite residence of several Bohemian kings. It was here that, on January 18, 1409, Wenceslaus IV signed the famous Decree of Kutná Hora, by which the Czech university nation was given three votes in the elections to the faculty of Prague University as against one for the three other nations.
In 1420 Emperor Sigismund made the city the base for his unsuccessful attack on the Taborites during the Hussite Wars, leading to the Battle of Kutná Hora. Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora) was taken by Jan Žižka, and after a temporary reconciliation of the warring parties was burned by the imperial troops in 1422, to prevent its falling again into the hands of the Taborites. Žižka nonetheless took the place, and under Bohemian auspices it awoke to a new period of prosperity.
Along with the rest of Bohemia, Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora) passed to the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria in 1526. In 1546 the richest mine was hopelessly flooded; in the insurrection of Bohemia against Ferdinand I the city lost all its privileges; repeated visitations of the plague and the horrors of the Thirty Years' War completed its ruin. Half-hearted attempts after the peace to repair the ruined mines failed; the town became impoverished, and in 1770 was devastated by fire. The mines were abandoned at the end of the 18th century.
At Kuttenberg (Kutna Hora) Prague groschen were minted until 1547.
Kuttenberg became part of the Austrian Empire in 1806 and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1866. The city became part of Czechoslovakia after World War I and the collapse of Austria-Hungary. Kutná Hora was incorporated into the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia by Nazi Germany from 1939–1945, but was restored to Czechoslovakia after World War II. The city became part of the Czech Republic in 1993 during the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
Kutná Hora and the neighboring town of Sedlec are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the most important buildings in the area are the Gothic, five-naved St. Barbara's Church, begun in 1388, and the Italian Court, formerly a royal residence and mint, which was built at the end of the 13th century. The Gothic Stone Haus, which since 1902 has served as a museum, contains one of the richest archives in the country. The Gothic St. James's Church, with its 86 metre tower, is another prominent building. Sedlec is the site of the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady and the famous Ossuary.
The oldest part of Kutná Hora – Sedlec – is a place, where the history of Royal Silver town Kutná Hora has begun. The landlord Miroslav from Markvartice ask the Cistercian order to establish the monastery here in 1142. The Miroslav´s fundation for the new monastery was really estated – a lot of lands and woods around Sedlec and even some villages belonged to it. And a few years later, when the silver ore was found mainly there, the profits from renting the lands for mining earned a huge richness to Cistercian monastery in Sedlec. There is no monk in monastery in these days and Kutná Hora is not a Royal silver town any more, but we can still admire great cathedrals, churches, gloriously buildings and monuments, which were built and erected thanks to the unimaginable welth…
There are two very coveted churches in Sedlec – The Cemetery church of All Saints with the Ossuary and Unesco Herritage listed Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady and Saint John the Baptist. Administration of these sights attaches to the Roman Catholic Parish in Sedlec.
And because a large amount of visitors all over the year requires an appropriate services, the Parish also administrates an Infocentre near by – visitors of Sedlec can find all important information about the town and the surroundings there, and also all arranging of guide service, concerts, experience program or the permits for filming in the churches are accomplished there.
The Cemetery Church of All Saints with the Ossuary
A cistercian monastery was founded near here in the year 1142. One of the principal tasks of the monks was the cultivation of the grounds and lands around the monastery. In 1278 King Otakar II of Bohemia sent Henry, the abbot of Sedlec , on a diplomatic mission to the Holy Land. When leaving Jerusalem Henry took with him a handful of earth from Golgotha which he sprinkled over the cemetery of Sedlec monastery, consequently the cemetery became famous, not only in Bohemia but also throughout Central Europe and many wealthy people desired to be buried here.The burial ground was enlarged during the epidemics of plague in the 14 th century (e.g.in 1318 about 30 000 people were buried here) and also during the Hussite wars in first quarter of the 15 th. century.
After 1400 one of the abbots had a church of All -Saints erected in Gothic style in the middle of the cemetery and under it a chapel destined for the deposition of bones from abolished graves, a task which was begun by a half blind Cistercian monk after the year 1511. The charnel-house was remodelled in Czech Baroque style between 1703 – I710 by the famous Czech architect, of the Italian origin ,Jan Blažej SANTIM-Aichl. The present arrangement of the bones dates from 1870 and is the work of a Czech wood-carver, František RINT (you can see his name, put together from bones, on the right-hand wall over the last bench).
Our ossuary contains the remains of about 40 000 people. The largest collections of bones are arranged in the form of bells in the four corners of the chapel.
The most interesting creations by Master Rint are the chandelier in the centre of the nave, containing all the bones of the human body , two monstrances beside the main altar and the coat-of arms of the Schwarzenberg noble family on the left-hand side of the chapel.
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[img width=700 height=466]http://www.sterf.be/wp-content/gallery/sedlec-ossuary/sedlec-ossuary-03-augustus-2007-14u28.jpg”/>
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